IT’S A LONG JOURNEY FOR ME – ZII JIA

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 – Reigning All-England champion Lee Zii Jia suffered a painful three-game 8-21, 21-19, 21-5 defeat to reigning Olympic champion Chen Long of China in Round of 16 match in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Thursday.
It is a defeat that showed experience cannot be bought but at 23 age is on his side. There was no stopping the veteran Chinese ace, a two-time world champion, once he found his rhythm in the 70 minute encounter at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.
The 33-year-old Chen Long defeated former Malaysian legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei  21-18, 21-18 in the gold medal match in Rio four years ago.
The former world No 1 also won the silver at the Beijing Olympics (2008) and London Olympics (2012). Chong Wei has since retired from competitive badminton due to ill-health.
”After winning the All-England many hailed me as a medal prospect at the Tokyo Olympics. The fact is that I have a long way to go in my badminton career,” said the Alor Setar-born Zii Jia who is also the SEA Games champion.
 “It’s a long journey and I will use the experience gained in my first Olympics to further improve my game and take it to a higher level.”
“The pressure of playing in the Olympics is totally different. It’s a mega event where only the best make it. It’s an unforgettable experience and to have qualified to the knockout stage is an achievement for me.
”For me, I am more confident in my game. The match against Chen Long, however, did not go my way after I won the first game. In the second game I gave away easy points and by the time I fought back it was too late.”
Depending on the coronavirus pandemic, Zii Jia is hoping to play in some of the big tournaments this year.

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