Ginseng-powered Zii Jia raring for BATC action

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia is raring to go at the Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) this week following a short training stint in South Korea.

The world No. 10 feels he has gained invaluable experience from his 11-day training camp at the world-class Badminton Korea Association (BKA) training facility in Jincheon, Seoul.

Speaking to the press after testing the courts at the Setia City Convention Centre in Selangor on Monday, the former All England champion, said: "I'm really looking forward to this competition because I had a fantastic training stint in South Korea with BKA.

"As we know, BKA has produced three world champions (women's singles, men's and mixed doubles) recently, so it was really good that I got to train with them.

"The facilities are world-class, and I'm grateful to BKA for making me feel welcomed when I was there."

Two years ago, at the same venue in Selangor, the 26-year-old led the Malaysian men's team to their maiden BATC crown after defeating Indonesia 3-0 in the final.

While acknowledging the challenge this year will be different, Zii Jia assured that he and his teammates are ready to throw everything on the line to defend the crown.

Malaysia, who are in Group B, will open their campaign on Tuesday against minnows Brunei.

The other two teams in the group are Kazakhstan and Taiwan.

When asked if it was better to face lower-ranked teams first before going up against Taiwan in the final group tie, Zii Jia added: "I can't speak for everyone, but for me, yes.

"Taiwan may be without their top singles player, but they still have Lin Chun Yi and Lee Yang-Wang Chi Lin as their first singles and doubles players.

"Pressure is there, but that is something we must manage."

Only the top two teams will qualify for the knockout stage, with the semi-finalists earning automatic qualification to the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in China in April.

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