KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — The level of performance and ability of a badminton player, in this context the leading national men’s singles player, Lee Zii Jia, cannot be measured via the calculations of percentage rates.
But, with six months to go before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in July, numerous efforts would surely be done to prepare the 22-year-old player to a level that is truly competitive.
This was the pledge of coach Hendrawan, who was tasked with guiding Zii Jia since July last year, and who conceded that the Kedah-born player had shown an encouraging improvement.
‘’I still have a promise and also a dream, to one day see a Malaysian player called a world champion or Olympic champion.
‘’I am also new with him, almost five or six months together. Maybe, a month after the SEA Games or during the SEA Games he started to feel clearer on how he needed to play and had a more transparent understanding of training. And maybe, in six months, he will know better the true direction.
‘’But don’t ask me how many per cent, I am also not sure. What is sure, the answer is that I will endeavour to do my best. Badminton is not mathematics,’’ he said.
Hendrawan explained that Zii Jia was a player who was prepared for the 2024 Olympics but based on the development and maturity he exhibited, the coaches and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) themselves believed that the 2020 Olympics was the best exposure for the player.
‘’I know everybody hopes Zii Jia will progress fast but honestly, we are actually preparing him for 2024. The (coming) Olympics will be good for his exposure.
‘’But today, looking at Zii Jia’s maturity, we have six months and we will prepare him. We will work hard because we have a desire to become the best,’’ he said.
When asked about Zii Jia’s performance at the 2020 Malaysia Masters badminton championship which ended today, he said Zii Jia had demonstrated improvements by advancing to the semi-finals, but still had something lacking to compete against the world’s number one player, Kento Momota of Japan.
From the outcome, he said there were still things to be improved and boosted by Zii Jia in the six months before the action in Tokyo.
But, what had drawn attention, he said, was than Zii Jia was beginning to learn to control the pressure in every match he went through, to the point of successfully ousting the world’s number four player from Denmark Anders Antonsen, before shocking Shi Yu Qi of China in the quarter-finals. — Bernama