Lee Zii Jia is all fired up to chase a medal at the upcoming SEA Games as he intensifies preparation for the biennial meet.
The men’s singles shuttler had skipped the Hong Kong Open and ongoing Gwangju Korea Masters as he was not feeling well, which ultimately meant he would also miss out on the lucrative season finale World Tour Finals in China.
But Lee had no regrets pulling out, as it gave him sufficient time to prepare for the Games in Manila.
"I was disappointed to miss out on the World Tour Finals, but I couldn’t take a risk and play with my condition.
"When I sat down with the coaches to make a decision, we decided that it would be best for me to focus solely on the SEA Games.
"I have recovered and am back to full training. It’s been good because I get to focus on my conditioning.
"Before this it was difficult to train because we had so many tournaments back-to-back, but pulling out of Hong Kong and Korea has given me time, and I want to push hard for a medal," said Lee when met at the national training centre.
Lee reckoned the level of quality at the SEA Games is equivalent to a Super 500 (Level 4) or Super 750 (Level 3) event.
"This time there are many good players from Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. It won’t be easy, but if you want to go far you have to play them," he added.
Indonesia’s Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie will be among the top guns at the SEA Games, along with Thai stalwart Kantaphon Wangcharoen.
Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew is another name who will be vying to upset the odds.
Besides Lee, youngsters Aidil Sholeh and Lim Chong King are the other Malaysian men’s singles shuttlers.