Build On Fantastic All England Win Chong Wei Tells Zii Jia
Former badminton great Lee Chong Wei has advised Lee Zii Jia to keep up the momentum of his All-England triumph, saying the amazing win over defending champion Viktor Axelsen will give the Malaysian a much-needed boost.
He said it is important for Zii Jia not to slow down after winning his maiden All-England men's singles title against all odds.
The sixth-seeded Zii Jia defeated the Dane 30-29, 20-22, 21-9 in a 74-minute battle at Utilita Arena in Birmingham last night.
The former four-time All-England champion said Zii Jia had recovered well from a string of below-par performances in the run-up to the world’s oldest tournament.
“I hope he will learn a lot after competing in this prestigious tournament. I was so impressed by his splendid performance against Axelsen, whereby he displayed a great attacking game and defended very well every time the Dane tried to score a point with his smashes.
“Zii Jia’s confidence grew after he stunned world number one Kento Momota of Japan in the last eight, and I am glad to see that he continued the momentum to get past Axelsen,” he told Bernama today.
Badminton player Lee Zii Jia
The 38-year-old Chong Wei advised Zii Jia not to be hasty in trying to win a match, saying impatience cost him the second game although he was leading 18-14. Axelsen eventually won 22-20 to force the match into rubber games.
Chong Wei believes that the 22-year-old Kedahan will be more mature in future tournaments, especially for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July.
“I am sure his coaches Hendrawan and Tey Seu Bock will give him even tougher training to prepare for the Olympics,” said Chong Wei, Malaysia's chef de mission for the Games.
The three-time Olympics silver medallist said he was happy to see Zii Jia lift the trophy, as he himself was the last Malaysian to win the title, in 2017.
“It is important to keep the legacy of winning the All-England although some people viewed this tournament as just a normal competition and nothing special,” he added.
Chong Wei said he was also delighted with other players especially the younger ones for stepping up in the All-England.
He praised women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M Thinaah for reaching the last eight on their debut in the tournament.
“I hope they (all players) won’t sustain any injuries after this. Don’t give up and keep up a good spirit to fight,” he said.
Pearly and Thinaah, who won the Swiss Open just before the All-England, went down fighting to Japan’s Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida in the quarterfinals, losing 12-21, 22-20, 16-21.
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