KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — There’s no point dwelling on the bombshell. Other shuttlers simply need to step up the plate to make the best of the situation.
On paper, Malaysia look to be in danger of missing out on the mixed team gold again at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, next month, following the withdrawal of singles ace Lee Zii Jia.
Malaysia failed to win their fourth straight gold in the mixed team event after losing to India 1-3 in the final of the previous edition, Gold Coast 2018.
However, experienced mixed doubles shuttler Chan Peng Soon has called on his teammates not to be distracted by Zii Jia’s shocking move and to remain focused on their mission in Birmingham.
In fact, Peng Soon, who will play mixed doubles with Cheah Yee See, is optimistic that other shuttlers can hit the mark at the upcoming quadrennial Games.
“We don’t have to depend solely on Zii Jia as we do have other players, especially in doubles department, to step up and win the gold.
“I personally believe that the Commonwealth Games is important as it happens once in every four years. Many players outside too are looking forward to competing in the Games,” he told reporters at a training session here today.
In a video released on Wednesday, Zii Jia said the difficulty of coping with the tight schedule lately had forced him to skip the Games to focus fully on the world championships in Tokyo from August 22-28.
Peng Soon, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist, pointed out that it was important for them to come out tops in the mixed team event as it would definitely boost their momentum in the individual event that follows.
Asked on his preparation for the Malaysia Open 2022 next week, the 34-year-old player said his partnership with Yee See was progressing smoothly.
Yee See also believed that their combination is getting better as they head into their third tournament, after making their debut in the Indonesia Masters earlier this month.
On Zii Jia’s withdrawal, she said his absence would not dampen their spirit to get a positive result as Malaysia are still a force to reckon with in Birmingham.
Peng Soon-Yee See will kick off their Malaysia Open campaign against Indonesia’s 19th ranked pair Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari in the first round. The Malaysia Open will be held from June 28 until July 3.
National women’s doubles player Valeree Siow said she has not set any target in the Malaysia Open as it is a tough tournament but hope to gain some good experience.
“It’s not easy for me to play in this high-level tournament. Before this, our performance was not that good but I just wish we can try our best,” she said.
Valeree and her partner Low Yeen Yuan will face world No 24 Isabel Lohau-Linda Efler from Germany in the opening round. — Bernama