Zii Jia’s Tokyo ambition deferred

NATIONAL shuttler Lee Zii Jia was all set to shine at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

Unfortunately, the Games has now been postponed to next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former international Datuk James Selvaraj believes Zii Jia had already hit top form but will now have to wait to face the unknown.

Speaking to Timesport yesterday, the former BA of Malaysia (BAM) high-performance director said Zii Jia displayed top quality badminton when he reached the semi-finals of the All England last month.

“I cannot speak in general or predict things, but just looking at his performance this year, Zii Jia could have been a player to look out for at the Olympics.

“Zii Jia will now have to wait. Anything can happen between now and July next year.

“I think it will be an open affair in the men’s singles. Japan’s Kento Momota can now benefit from this, so can all the other players.

“Europeans are facing a problem containing the virus, so I think it will be wise for our players to use this time and go the extra mile to prepare for the Olympics,” said James.

According to James, things will look very different once international tournaments resume.

“Keeping fit is one thing but maintaining stroke consistency is another.

“We don’t know how long the Movement Control Order will go on for, but if you don’t hold a racquet for more than three months, you will lose that touch.

“Our players and coaches will have to think of creative ways to stay on course,” added James.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) are currently working on a new qualifying system for the Olympics.

Initially, the one-year qualification period was supposed to end later this month with the Asia Championships in Manila being the last tournament to offer points.

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