Golden chance for Zii Jia
YOUNGSTER Lee Zii Jia will get his first taste of competing in a major senior tournament after being included in the Malaysian Sudirman Cup squad.
The 19-year-old men’s singles will join the likes of World No 1 Lee Chong Wei and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin as the team head to Gold Coast, Australia for the mixed team event next week.
Zii Jia will likely not feature in any of the ties but for BA of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Morten Frost, it’s the experience that matters.
“We have included Lee Zii Jia in the squad and he will be one of the backup shuttlers for the men’s singles.
“He is the only additional inclusion and he will be there to train with Chong Wei and Iskandar.
“Yes he may not play in any of the ties but for him to be there and to get the feel of being part of a major tournament is something to be proud off. It will do him so much good,” said Frost.
Zii Jia was promoted to the senior squad earlier this year after showing promise in the junior setup.
At the world junior championships in Bilbao, Spain last year, Zii Jia finished with a bronze medal in the individual event and silver in the team event.
The Kedah-born shuttler’s best result this year was reaching the semi-finals of the Thailand Masters GP Gold in February.
The other players in the Sudirman Cup squad are Goh V Shem, Tan Wee Kiong, Ong Yew Sin, Teo Ee Yi, Goh Jin Wei, Soniia Cheah Su Ya, Vivian Hoo Kah Mun, Woon Khe Wei, Chow Mei Kuan, Lee Meng Yean, Chan Peng Soon, Tan Kian Meng, Lai Pei Jing and Cheah Yee See.
Malaysia are in Group 1C with Japan and Germany. Fabian Peter other combinations.
“When I’m paired with Pei Jing, Kian Meng is tested with Yee See and it’s the other way round when Kian Meng is paired with Pei Jing, so we all get a feel of each other’s game,” said Peng Soon.
On Malaysia’s chances of advancing further than the quarterfinals, Peng Soon said: “I think we have got the potential to go far.
“We just need to focus on our own individual strengths and try to help the team the best we can. There are no two ways to this. We all have got to do our part.”
Malaysia, open their campaign against Germany on May 23. The other team in Group 1C are 2014 Thomas Cup champions Japan. Fabian Peter
Lee Zii Jia will be one of the backup shuttlers for the Sudirman Cup in Gold Coast, Australia next week.