Badminton: Zii Jia delighted to face the Japanese ace in Europe
KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia is thrilled at the prospect of facing Kento Momota again, although the injured Japanese is expected to fight back.
The duo are expected to cross swords during the Sudirman Cup in Vaanta, Finland from September 26 to October 3 and the Thomas Cup finals in Aarhus, Denmark from October 9 to 17.
The 23-year-old expects the Japanese star to bounce back stronger after his shock defeat to South Korean Heo Kwang-hee in the group stage of the Olympics at home.
Zii Jia also beat Momota in the quarterfinals en route to becoming the All-England champion in March.
Unless he is upset, Zii Jia is expected to face Momota twice, as Malaysia and Japan were drawn in the same group in both team events.
Zii Jia wants to show that his very first victory in seven games against Momota at the All-England was no accident.
“After the Olympics collapse, he will surely want to play in his true form and that is what excites me,” said the Sudirman Cup team captain after receiving the Jalur Gemilang from the minister. Youth and Sports Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu yesterday.
“Momota was far from at his best when we played as it was his first tournament in 15 months.
“I want to beat him when he’s in great shape.”
When two-time world champion Momota was in his prime, the Malaysian couldn’t pull off a single game, as seen in his previous six straight losses.
While his predecessor Lee Chong Wei has an impressive record as first singles, contributing 24 points out of a possible 27 until the final Thomas Cup final in Bangkok, Zii Jia wants to do well and have a good head start. for the team as well.
“The pressure is still there, but I know I can handle it,” Zii Jia said.
“I will have the support of my teammates, we will win and lose as a team,” added the Malaysian, who has gained experience playing as first singles in previous Sudirman Cup, SEA Games and Asia Team Championships.
Meanwhile, after the flag handover ceremony, Faizal and his deputy Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker were taken to visit the state-of-the-art rain center by BAM President Tan Sri Norza Zakaria.
And one visit was enough to impress Faizal, as he now wants all other national sports associations to emulate BAM by having their own full-fledged academy to train world drummers.