The Tokyo Olympics have not been fruitful for the Badminton Association of Malaysia; the men’s doubles pair of Soh Wooi Yik and Aaron Chia were only the saving grace.
There was a lot to expect from the current All England Champion and the national men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia, but he was humbled by the Chinese no.1 Chen Long in the round of 16 and Chen went on to win the silver medal.
Ever since the announcement by the BWF of the Sudirman Cup and Thomas and Uber Cup, the 23-year-old wants to show that he is no fluke. His predecessor and former world no.1 Lee Chong Wei, too, fell short when it came to mixed team events. Malaysia’s best with Wei was in 2014 at the Thomas Cup, which saw them bag the runner-up trophy as they lost the finals against Japan. Zii Jia wants to do well and get one better for the nation.
The Malaysians are drawn in Group D along with their arch-rivals Japan. England and Egypt complete group D. Japan, who too had a forgetful Olympics, will be looking forward to putting up a good show at the 2021 Sudirman Cup.
In a recent interview with Zii Jia said, “After the Olympics meltdown, Momota will surely want to play to his true form. He was far from his best when we played(at All England) as it was his first tournament in 15 months. I want to beat him when he is in top shape.”
In head-to-head meets, Lee Zii Jia trail 1-6 against the world no.1 Kento Momota (the only loss came at the quarter-finals of this year’s All England championships) and the prospect of both of these supremely talented players going against each other and putting up a show will be a treat to watch for all the badminton fans across the world.
The Sudirman Cup is scheduled between Sept 26-Oct 3 at Energia Areena, Vaanta, Finland, and followed by Thomas Cup from Oct 9-17 in Aarhus, Denmark.