Malaysia’s top men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia celebrated his 22nd birthday in “quarantine” in his family home in Alor Setar on Sunday due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide.
The 10th ranked Zii Jia is not too disturbed with the quarantine as he is taking the extended leave from the national team’s training due to MCO by keeping himself in good shape with his routines at home.
The Tokyo Olympics bound Zii Jia is glad that the entire Malaysian team to the recent Yonex All-England Championships in Birmingham was given a clean bill of health after being quarantined at the Badminton Academy in Bukit Kiara.
Tests conducted on the players, coaches and team officials returned negative of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The players were allowed to return home for self-quarantine.
With the Tokyo Olympics now postponed to next year, Zii Jia gets extra time to work on his shortcomings and has been rigorously working hard on the flaws in his game.
Zii Jia, the reigning SEA Games champion, became the talk of the town after his impressive showing in his All England debut. Not many gave him a chance but the Malaysian went great guns to reach the semi-finals in his first All England – the world’s oldest and most prestigious badminton tournament.
In the Super 1000 event, Zii Jia knocked out Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie of Indonesia (21-15, 21-13) in the first round and China’s Lu Guangzu (21-10, 21-16) in the second for a place in the quarter-finals.
Many did not give Zii Jia much hope against China’s reigning Olympic champion Chen Long in the quarter-finals but the Malaysian stunned the Chinese ace in straight game 21-12, 21-18.
In the semi-finals, Zii Jia went out in three-games to Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 21-17, 13-21, 18-21.
“I have not been idle at home. Instead, I have been putting in a lot of effort in my self-training as I have set myself a high target…to be in the top five in the world by year’s end, said Zii Jia.
”With the Olympics now postponed to next year, it gives me more time to prepare for Tokyo. At the same time, I am aware that things will only get tougher when competitions are resumed in time to come.” – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH