LEE Zii Jia believes that Malaysia’s success in reaching the final of the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila was a much needed break for the new generation of Malaysian shuttlers.
After having captained the team to second place behind Indonesia on Sunday, Zii Jia is eager to see how he and his teammates would fare against the rest of the world at the Thomas Cup in Aarhus, Denmark on May 16-24.
“First of all I am very proud of everybody in the team. We are the new generation of Malaysian shuttlers and we did well to reach the final in Manila.
“I am also very happy for Cheam (June Wei). The tournament was a good breakthrough for him.
“I am now looking forward to see how we match up against the rest at the Thomas Cup in May,” Zia Jia said after arriving at klia2 yesterday.
In the final at Rizal Memorial Coliseum, June Wei became man of the hour, when he upset World No 7, Jonatan Christie to give Malaysia a fighting chance after Zii Jia and men's doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, lost in the first two matches.
Unfortunately for Malaysia, Indonesia secured their third consecutive team title (since the biennial tournament's inception in 2016) when scratch pair, Mohammad Ahsan-Fajar Alfian dispatched independent duo Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi in the fourth match.
Zii Jia also noted that the absences of China and Hong Kong due to the coronavirus outbreak had an effect on the tournament.
“Surely their absences were felt because both are strong teams in the region.
“But we played our hearts out and showed up when we needed to.
“The team are riding high on confidence and we hope to play against those who couldn’t make it for the Asian meet, at the Thomas Cup,” Zii Jia added.
For now, the national shuttlers are back to focusing on their Olympic qualification campaign, which ends in April.