Chia Wei Jie

Wei Jie is Rexy’s best option.

Back-up shuttler Chia Wei Jie could not believe his luck after being surprisingly named in the 12-member squad for the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok next month.

And the 22-year-old does not want to let the rare opportunity go to waste as he aims to make the most of the precious experience from the May 8-15 showpiece.

Wei Jie, who has struggled to make an impact in his first year with the back-up squad in 2019, could not progress much in the past two years due to lack of playing opportunity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But two decent outings in Europe earlier this year, where he and partner Low Hang Yee won the Ukraine Open and finished runner-up in the Swedish Open, proved to have made the difference for him.

Wei Jie didn’t expect his Thomas Cup inclusion, given that he wasn’t even shortlisted for the nine-day centralised training which began last Friday.

“I was surprised when I saw my name in the list announced by BAM (on Wednesday),” said Wei Jie.

“I’m not sure how I ended up making the squad. All I know was that I won’t stand any chance to make the final list unless I am in the shortlist.

“I do get involved in the match play sessions, but I wasn’t part of the centralised training at all.

“But I think I shouldn’t be concerned about how I get selected. What’s important now is for me go out there and justify the coaches’ faith in me.”

It remains to be seen if Wei Jie will get a chance to play as the team already have three formidable pairs in world No 9 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, No 11 Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and No 16 Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani.

Wei Jie’s best chance to be fielded would probably be against New Zealand, the lowest-ranked side in Group A which also comprises Japan and England.

It’s learnt that BAM had opted to fill the final slot with a doubles player after they decided to make do with just five singles in Lee Zii Jia, Liew Daren, Ng Tze Yong, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin and Leong Jun Hao.

Doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky said: “During the final selection meeting, I was told to name a seventh doubles member, so I had to come with the best option.

“I picked Wei Jie because his performance has been very consistent in training. His style of play can also come in handy in the event we need to form a scratch pairing.”

WhatsApp chat