Lee’s withdrawal due to injury may throw a spanner in the works

PETALING JAYA: Men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia faces a race against time to get a seeding in the Paris Olympics in July.

Zii Jia, who is currently ranked No. 9 in the world needs to move into the top eight to be guaranteed a seeding and an easier path to the latter rounds in the showpiece event.

The independent player only has the back-to-back Indonesian Open (June 4-9) and Australian Open (June 11-16) left to boost his rankings after pulling out of the ongoing Singapore Open due to hamstring injuries.

Zii Jia was supposed to open his campaign in Singapore against Indonesia’s world No. 7 Anthony Ginting but was forced to concede a walkover yesterday.

The 26-year-old captured the Thailand Open and finished runner-up to Denmark’s world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the Malaysian Masters on Sunday but the effort of making it into back-to-back finals seemed to have taken a toll on him.

Zii Jia was struggling with cramps throughout the Malaysian tourney but pushed himself to reach his first ever final on home soil before going down fighting 6-21, 22-20, 13-21 to Axelsen.

The former moved up one rung from No. 10 to No. 9 after his fine showings and will be out to recover in time for the Indonesian tourney to get into the top eight.

Currently, Thailand’s reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn is ranked No. 8 with 76808 points while Zii Jia is close behind with 75486 points.

Zii Jia needs to perform better than Kunlavut in Indonesia and possibly Australia too to overtake the Thai.

Zii Jia still has a good chance to move up to No. 8 as Kunlavut is also not competing in the Singapore Open and skipped the Malaysian Masters as well.

“It is a difficult decision having to concede a walkover at the Singapore Open but after medical assessment, Zii Jia was advised not to participate due to hamstring injuries sustained during the Thailand Open and Malaysian Masters,” said Team LZJ via social media.

“Focus for Zii Jia’s programme will now shift towards rehabilitation.”

Meanwhile, world No. 36 Leong Jun Hao will take on Ginting in the second round in Singapore today after Zii Jia’s withdrawal.

Jun Hao had made a fine start in the competition with a 21-13, 21-16 win over Japan’s world No. 28 Kanta Tsuneyama.

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Badminton , Lee Zii Jia , Singapore Open


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