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.

About The Author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here