PETALING JAYA: Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have played down concerns about Lee Zii Jia’s health following the shuttler’s withdrawal from this week’s Hong Kong Open.
The 21-year-old was forced to pull out of the Hong Kong meet, the second last stop of the World Tour, due to a severe food poisoning he was suffering from since Thursday.
The illness caused him to retire midway through his second-round clash against world No. 1 Kento Momota at the Fuzhou China Open. He lost 9-21 in the opening game before deciding to concede the match during the interval of the second game while trailing 3-11.
Zii Jia was supposed to rest for a couple of days before travelling with the rest of team to Hong Kong.
However, his condition worsened and BAM decided to send him home for further health assessment yesterday.
The news could not come at a worst time with Zii Jia making a last ditch attempt to qualify for the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou next month.
Zii Jia is still very much in the running to make the top eight cut for the lucrative US$1.5mil (RM6.2mil) season-ending event as he’s currently placed ninth in the points standings.
The Korean Masters, which will be held in Gwangju from Nov 19-24, will be the last leg of the World Tour.
Also, a long duration on the sidelines could hamper Zii Jia’s preparations for the Philippines SEA Games, which is just less than three weeks away.
National team coaching director Wong Choong Hann has issued a reassuring update on Zii jia’s condition.
“We’re pulling him out from Hong Kong because he hasn’t been feeling good over the past few days. He won’t be ready to compete if the body is still weak.
“So it’s better for him to return to Malaysia so that he can receive treatment and continue his recovery.
“It isn’t that bad. He will be back on his feet soon and return to training. I have no doubt that he will be ready for the SEA Games.”
Malaysia certainly can’t afford to lose another key player through illness as the team are already without Goh Jin Wei.
Jin Wei has to forget about defending her women’s singles gold in Manila after undergoing colectomy, a surgery to remove part of her colon, to fix her long-standing stomach ailment.
Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) 21-15,17-21,21-18.
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) 21-17,21-9.
Chen Yufei (Chn) bt Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) 9-21,21-12,21-18.
Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) bt Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan (Kor) 21-17,21-15.
Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) bt Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) 21-14,21-13.