Tze Yong muscling up for Road to Paris mission

As far as Olympic qualifications are concerned, national men's singles player Ng Tze Yong cannot breathe easy just yet.

National coach Hendrawan said it is crucial for Tze Yong to perform well in the first four tournaments next year, including the Super 1000 Malaysia Open on Jan 9-14, to see how the rest of his season shapes up.

World No. 15 Tze Yong played his last tournament of the year at the China Masters last month and is currently ranked No. 13 in the Race to Paris standings.

For the singles event, a country is allowed a maximum of two players, provided both are ranked in the top 16 bracket at the end of the one-year Olympic qualifying period in April.

"We know Tze Yong still needs to work on his strength and fitness, that's why we decided to start his training for the 2024 season after a three-day break only.

"Tze Yong has shown good progress this year from quarter-finals to semi-finals and even a final. The only thing missing is a World Tour title.

"For now, we will register his name in a few tournaments. Unlike Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) or An Se Young (South Korea), Tze Yong does not have the luxury to pick and choose his tournaments just yet.

"This goes for most players whose rankings are not high enough — the middle players. Depending on how Tze Yong does in the opening four tournaments next year, we will be able to plan his tournaments better before the Olympics," said Hendrawan at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara today.

Explaining further, the Indonesian said the Super 750 French Open and Super 1000 All England in March as well as the Asian Championships in April will be the last big tournaments for Tze Yong to collect ranking points before the Paris Olympics in July.

In January after the Malaysia Open, Tze Yong will likely play in the Super 750 India Open (Jan 16-21), Super 500 Indonesia Masters (Jan 23-28), and the Super 300 Thailand Masters (Jan 30-Feb 4).

Tze Yong will also be part of the squad for the Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) on Feb 13-18 in Selangor.

"Since Tze Yong did not play in the Sudirman Cup this year and next year's Thomas Cup is outside the Olympic qualifying period, we will include him in the BATC in February," added Hendrawan.

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