Rexy challenges shuttlers to reach final of Thomas Cup despite setbacks


Bonding and training: Thomas and Uber Cuppers hard at work in preparing for the Finals in Chengdu. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Forget about the setbacks. Leave the injury issues out of the equation. Just think positive and aim for a place in the final.

That is the clarion call from national badminton coaching director Rexy Mainaky in the lead-up to the Thomas Cup Finals in Chengdu, China, from April 27-May 5.

Rexy urged the national shuttlers not to treat the Thomas Cup competition lightly and to be determined enough to aim for the final, at least.

Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup in 1992 and came close to regaining it four times since then in the finals of 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2014.

In the 2014 edition in New Delhi, the team settled for runners-up after an agonising 2-3 defeat to Japan in the final.

“It’s the best time to prove our worth as a badminton playing nation. As everyone can see, including media friends, through the videos uploaded by BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia), we showed everyone what we are doing to prepare for the Thomas Cup.

“People may see or read that our team preparations may look a bit messy lately but we showed that we are still focused.

“We are trying our best to build a strong team. We can see that all the players have a positive spirit.

“Our training starts from 6am until 9pm. All the activities we conduct are to increase the morale of the team because we have a target for the Thomas Cup,” said the former Olympic champion.

The national team, including top singles player Lee Zii Jia, will leave for Chengdu on Wednesday.

The BAM, for the first time, have agreed to compensate Zii Jia for every match he plays in the upcoming Thomas Cup Finals.

Zii Jia, however, has been training on his own since last Monday after he returned from the Asian Championships in Ningbo, China.

World No. 18 and Malaysia’s second singles Ng Tze Yong had to skip the Thomas Cup Finals as he had to undergo a second surgery after a very rare condition occurred following the first surgery in February.

Tze Yong will be replaced by doubles player Choong Hon Jian.

Malaysia have a tricky opening Group D tie against Hong Kong on April 27 before taking on Algeria the next day.

Malaysia will then play former champions Denmark on April 30. Only the top two teams qualify for the quarter-finals.

“The match against Hong Kong is very crucial. If we win, then we will be just one step away from the knockout stage.

“We probably have to count on Lee Zii Jia to win the singles point while our doubles must contribute the points.”

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badminton , malaysia , asian

   

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