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Get Zii Jia ready to rock in Tokyo Olympics, BAM told

Putrajaya – Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican has called on the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to immediately prepare national singles ace Lee Zii Jia to be a medal contender at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

He said the shuttler’s achievement in winning the All-England title had made him among the players to be feared, thus Zii Jia’s rivals would be studying and analysing his performances so that they would be ready for him next time.

“Zii Jia is now a power to be reckoned with. They’re making game analysis, in terms of how many unforced errors he made and what are his strengths. I have asked BAM, their coaches and technical head (coaching director Wong Choong Hann) not to take too long to conduct their review.

“ most important is the last milestone we want him to achieve is to bring back the country’s first Olympic gold medal. Should that become a reality, it will be a way bigger achievement compared to winning other championships,” he said after the MyFit@Motorsports prize-presentation ceremony at Menara KBS here today.

Reezal Merican also hoped that Zii Jia would keep up his performance in the upcoming tournaments, including the Malaysia Open in May, until the Olympics.

The Alor Setar-born shuttler won the All England men’s singles crown after a thrilling 30-29, 20-22, 21-9 win over defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham on Sunday. Zii Jia also sent world number one Kento Momota of Japan packing in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Reezal Merican said the hosting of the World Motorcycle Championship (MotoGP), scheduled to be held from October 29-31, would be jointly studied with the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM) following a rise in organisational costs due to standard operating procedures (SOP) to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“In principle, we have obtained approval from the National Security Council (MKN) for the organisation (of events) involving overseas participants, but this is subject to scrutiny of the KBS and MAM. If we have to organise it with strict SOP compliance, such as using the quarantine-based approach or having to conduct several swab tests, sometimes the cost can be very high.

“The Malaysia Open (badminton championships) will also require extremely high costs because each player will be required to undergo swab test and quarantine placement. For motorsports, which involves many marshals, surely the cost will be higher,” he explained. — Bernama

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