DOING CHONG WEI’S JOB
Zii Jia, Iskandar have to deal with Jonatan and Khosit
FABIAN PETER email@example.com
FORMER World No 1 Lee Chong Wei may not be at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017) but that does not mean the men’s singles event would be anything short of spectacular. In the absence of Chong Wei, who will be in Glasgow, Scotland for the World Championships, hosts Malaysia would not want to let slip the men’s singles gold medal won by Chong Wei Feng at the Singapore Games two years ago.
The BA of Malaysia (BAM) have set a target of two gold medals, and they are expected to come from the women’s doubles and mixed doubles event but take nothing away from rising star Lee Zii Jia and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, who will be fighting for honours in the men’s singles individual event that gets underway at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil on Aug 26.
The path to glory, however, is not easy, especially when Indonesia and Thailand have registered a strong squad of shuttlers who could spoil the host nation’s party.
Indonesia, who last won the men’s singles at the 2011 edition in Palembang through Simon Santoso, are expected to field their national No 1 Jonatan Christie and Ihsan Maulana Mustofa in the individual event.
Thailand are expected to play World No 40 Khosit Phetpradab and Suppanyu Avihingsanon.
Jonatan may not have had the best of seasons this year, but underestimating the young 20-year-old who has stunned top players like five-time world champion Lin Dan of China and Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen would be a huge mistake.
Khosit, who seems to be struggling this season has had his fair share of success in seeing off top shuttlers such as Hong Kong’s Hu Yun, Tien Chen and Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the past.
The pressure would definitely be on the Malaysians to perform especially when the Games are played on home soil, and this could be a boost for Thailand and Indonesia to rise to the occasion to take the podium finishes.
Let’s not forget that it was Indonesia and Thailand who reached the final of the team event in Singapore, proving they have got depth in the squad.
Now, could Zii Jia and Iskandar make it another all Malaysian final just like the previous edition? One can surely hope for that.