Top national shuttlers Lee Zii Jia and Aaron Chia are relishing a rare opportunity to compete in both the Olympic Games and World Championships next year and have vowed to make the most of it.
The Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) announcement on Friday that the World Championships will be held in the same year as the Olympics was greeted with excitement and enthusiasm by both Zii Jia and Aaron.
The World Championships, which traditionally takes place in August, has been set from Nov 29-Dec 5 next year in Huelva, Spain, three months after the Tokyo 2020, which has been deferred by a year and slated for July 23-Aug 8.
It marks the first time ever that the two biggest individual competitions will be held in the same year.
The World Championships has been changed from a biennial event to an annual meet since 2006 but it has never taken place during the Olympic year.
Initially, it was thought that next year’s world meet could be shelved due to the date availability and also the situation of having two major individual events in the same year.
But men’s doubles ace Aaron believes most shuttlers will cherish the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.“I’m really excited, ” said Aaron, who sits at No. 9 in the world rankings with Soh Wooi Yik.
“I don’t see any problem in playing both the Olympics and world meet in the same year. There’s no such thing as two major competitions taking the shine away from each other.
“In fact, I think everyone will be pumped up over the chance to create history by becoming the Olympic and world champion in the same year. It could turn out to be an extraordinary feat that will never be equalled.”
World No. 10 Zii Jia echoed Aaron’s sentiment.
“For me, the Olympics and World Championships are both equally massive and important regardless of which year they are held, ” said Zii Jia.
“Considering the low-key 2020, all shuttlers are going to come back stronger next year. I’m expecting a very tough challenge and I look forward to fighting as hard as everyone else for the two biggest badminton honours.
“It will be important to plan my preparation well to make sure I can peak in both meets. They are just about three months apart. It will not be easy. The same goes to everyone as well as none of us have faced this situation before.”