KUALA LUMPUR: Men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia admits he’s struggling to stay motivated with the badminton season showing no signs of returning to normal anytime soon amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 22-year-old was left frustrated with his “dismal” performance despite leading Team A to victory over Team B in the men’s event of the President’s Cup at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) yesterday.
Zii Jia put his side ahead by staving off a strong challenge from Cheam June Wei to win 22-20,21-18.
Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, Ng Tze Yong and Shaqeem Eiman Shahyar were the other three victors as they rounded up a 4-1 victory for Team A.
Yew Sin-Ee Yi downed Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 23-21,21-13 to exact sweet revenge on their earlier defeat in the men’s doubles final of the BAM Invitational Championships last month.
Tze Yong proved that his shock title-winning run in the internal meet was no fluke when he outplayed Leong Jun Hao 21-19,21-11 in a repeat of last month’s men’s singles final.
However, Zii Jia, found no joy in the victory.
“I wasn’t satisfied with my performance, I didn’t think I played well. That wasn’t even 50% of what I’m capable of, ” said Zii Jia.
“This could be due to a lack of playing in tournaments for a very long time. It’s tough when you train every day without having a goal to pursue. Gradually you can lose focus and direction.
“I actually feel down at the moment. This is the first time we find ourselves in such a situation, it feels really weird. I just don’t know how to describe it.”
To address the lack of international tournaments, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have thus far held two internal meets including this two-day internal team meet that doubled up as Thomas and Uber Cup simulation matches.
Despite the postponement of the Finals, BAM went on with their plans to stage the President’s Cup to provide the players with competitive match opportunities.
Zii Jia believes while these internal meets could help the players to maintain match fitness and sharpness, they don’t provide the same kind of competitiveness in actual tournaments.
While Zii Jia feels he was far from his best, rising star Tze Yong was clearly delighted after picking up where he left off from the previous meet.
Tze Yong has certainly proved a point with the victory as he was overlooked for the Thomas Cup Finals call-up at the expense of Jun Hao.
“I’m very happy with the win today, I played my best game so far. It was more fulfilling in a way because my opponent is fully fit today (Jun Hao was injured in their previous meeting), ” said the 20-year-old Tze Yong.
“My team were already 2-0 up, that makes the difference too as I was able to play without pressure.”
Team Abt Team B 4-1
(Lee Zii Jia bt Cheam June Wei 22-20, 21-18; Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi bt Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 23-21, 21-13; Ng Tze Yong bt Leong Jun Hao 21-19, 21-11; Low Hang Yee-Ng Eng Cheong lost to Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani 19-21, 14-21; Shaqeem Eiman Shahyar bt Lee Shun Yang 21-15, 23-21)