KUALA LUMPUR: Is the Axiata Arena the ‘haunted ground’ for Lee Zii Jia, the darling of local badminton fans?
There certainly was an element of truth as the national men’s singles professional ace suffered yet another early round exit in the aforementioned venue, going down to Taiwan’s Lin Chun-Yi, 19-21, 21-16, 15-21 in the second round of the tournament, here today.
Despite feeling unwell during the game, Zii Jia deserved a pat on the back as he managed to complete the game that lasted one hour and 27 minutes.
Zii Jia then skipped the interview at the mixed zone, which has been the routine for every player after they finished off the match, as he was believed to seek medical treatment.
His sister cum manager, Lee Zii Yii, who had to replace Zii Jia for the interview session at the mixed zone, confirmed that the current world number 10 felt dizzy and that had taken a toll on his performance today.
“Now as everyone could see, Zii Jia was dizzy, he could not even stand firm. So sorry he couldn’t go through the interview,” Zii Yii said.
Zii Yii admitted that the fourth seed of the tournament was quite tired to travel back and forth after competing in the Sudirman Cup in Suzhou, China, last week.
She also said that Zii Jia’s current condition was not severe and had only taken medication to overcome his dizziness.
Today’s result meant Zii Jia had suffered three early round exits in a row here after he succumbed to Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito 19-21, 21-19, 16-21 in the second round of the Malaysia Open 2022.
Last January, Zii Jia shockingly crashed out in the opening round of the Malaysia Open 2023 at the hands of Japan’s rising star, Kodai Naraoka, 21-13, 17-21, 19-21.
In the meantime, Zii Yii said the contract of Zii Jia’s new coach, Wong Tat Meng will be until end of 2024.
Last Tuesday, Team LZJ on a social media post announced that Tat Meng’s immediate task will be to tailor a programme that will help Zii Jia achieve consistent performances, move up the world rankings, and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Zii Jia has been playing without a full-time coach since parting ways with his former trainer Indra Wijaya of Indonesia late last year.
Meanwhile, national men’s doubles professional pair, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi were made to slog before discarding Taiwanese duo, Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han, 15-21, 21-12, 21-19 to qualify for the quarter finals.
Despite beating their opponent for the second time in a row, (won against the Taiwanese in a third group match of the Sudirman Cup, 21-8, 23-21) at Suzhou, China recently, Yew Sin said Ching Yao-Po Han had studied their game properly which forced the Malaysians to play in a deciding set today.
Yew Sin-Ee Yi will set up an encounter against Kang Min Hyuk-Seo Seung Jae after the South Koreans got past Akira Koga-Taichi Saito of Japan, 21-15, 21-17.
The sixth seeded pair will join two national men’s doubles pairs including reigning world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun as well as national top women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah in the next stage today. - Bernama