Possibility of Tze Yong pulling out of Thomas Cup a headache for coach

Thorough examination: Ng Tze Yong needs to have a scan and meet the doctor to check if he has fully recovered from surgery.

PETALING JAYA: Men’s singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong’s possible absence from the Thomas Cup Finals from April 27-May 5 could be a huge blow to the team’s chances.

Tze Yong, who is the country’s No. 2 and is currently ranked No. 18 in the world, has been selected along with Lee Zii Jia, Leong Jun Hao, Cheam June Wei and Justin Hoh in the singles but could miss out on the prestigious team meet if he does not recover in time from back surgery.

The 23-year-old had to forgo his Paris Olympics dream after going under the knife at the end of February to deal with a spinal disc injury and now face the prospect of having to withdraw from the Thomas Cup.

National coaching director Rexy Mainaky said Tze Yong needs to have a scan and consult with his doctor to determine if he has fully recovered from surgery.

If he is deemed unfit to play, he could be replaced by another player in the team meet.

“According to the rules, we can replace Tze Yong with a player ranked lower than him if he is not fully fit,” said Rexy.

“For now, his participation is uncertain. He needs to have a scan and meet the doctor to check on his condition.

Rexy then went on to defend the decision made to include Tze Yong in the team despite his uncertain condition.

The latter has only managed to play one full competitive match this year due to his troublesome back issues which started in the Malaysian Open in January.

“When we had a meeting to finalise the names of the players for the tournament, Tze Yong said he wants to play,” said Rexy.

“So we decided to name him in the team. But if he has still not recovered, then we have no choice but to call up someone else.”

Rexy faces a headache to choose a replacement as there are not many options available to him in the singles.

19-year-old Eogene Ewe is the favourite to replace Tze Yong but if a doubles player is preferred, Choong Hon Jian will likely be called up as the latter’s partner Mohd Haikal Nazri has already been selected in the team.

The other doubles players named in the team are Aaron Chia, Soh Wooi Yik, Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin Rumsani.

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