Choong Hann: Zii Jia needs to learn how to overcome challenges, stay at optimum level

Following the shock defeat to world number 40 Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the first round of the French Open last week, BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann said Lee Zii Jia had to learn to deal with physical and mental challenges to continuously compete at the highest level. — AFP pic
Following the shock defeat to world number 40 Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the first round of the French Open last week, BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann said Lee Zii Jia had to learn to deal with physical and mental challenges to continuously compete at the highest level. — AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — National men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia has to learn how to overcome the challenges of playing in back-to-back tournaments, says Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann.

He said the 23-year-old was in an important phase of his career, where experience would teach him how to maintain his fitness level to perform optimally in each tournament.

Following the shock defeat to world number 40 Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the first round of the French Open last week, Choong Hann said Zii Jia had to learn to deal with physical and mental challenges to continuously compete at the highest level.

“I think physically he is still okay. This is an important experience for him, so that he can learn and raise expectations for himself, as well as be prepared for more intense challenges in the future.

“They (Zii Jia and coach Hendrawan) will continue to carry out recovery training and body reconditioning. We will look into his situation for further programmes, especially in deciding on his participation in the Hylo Open which begins tomorrow,” he said in a video sent from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).

Zii Jia was previously reported to have lost in the opening round of the French Open in Paris due to fatigue, after playing in four consecutive tournaments since the end of September.

The All England champion began his European tour with the Sudirman Cup in Vantaa, Finland from September 26 to October 3, followed by the Thomas Cup in Aarhus, Denmark (October 9-17), and the Danish Open in Odense (October 19-24), before playing in Paris.

At the Hylo Open tournament in Saarbrucken, Germany which begins tomorrow, Zii Jia is scheduled to meet Pablo Abian of Spain in the first round.

Choong Hann also confirmed that the lead men’s doubles pairing of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah were never scheduled to participate in the tournament in Germany.

In fact, he said they were currently focusing on the Indonesian Masters (November 16-21) and the Indonesian Open (November 23-28) in Bali, as well as the World Championships (December 12-19) in Huelva, Spain, if eligible.

Meanwhile, he praised the country’s young men’s singles player Ng Tze Yong, who has shown consistent performance in several tournaments in recent times, including emerging runner-up at the Czech Open and winning the Belgian International.

“Indeed, he is one of the few young players who we are focusing on trying to improve their performance and abilities,” he said, adding that BAM was happy with the athlete’s development, and would continue to monitor his progress. — Bernama

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