DO­ING CHONG WEI’S JOB

Zii Jia, Iskan­dar have to deal with Jonatan and Khosit

New Straits Times - - Sport -

FABIAN PETER fabian.mark@nst.com.my

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.

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