Other than Lee Zii Jia, Tokyo Olympics-bound national shuttlers received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday as they prepare for a few more events on the BWF World Tour before the premiere showcase in July.
Malaysian players including Aaron Chia, Soh Wooi Yik, Tan Wee Kiong, Chan Peng Soon, Goh Liu Ying, Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean were among those inoculated with the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Zii Jia did not show up as he was feeling unwell, and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) would be coordinating with the National Sports Council (NSC) for him to receive his first dose next week.
Men’s singles head coach Hendrawan was relieved after getting his jab.
"It’s a relief for us, because the national team are always travelling overseas for tournaments, and so it’s great protection. We feel more secure as we prepare towards the Olympics," he said.
Meng Yean said the vaccination alleviated her and Chow's worry as they prepare to travel soon: "With this vaccination, we can focus our efforts and attention purely on court."
Chow added she was nervous before the vaccination but was happy with the entire process coordinated by the NSC, which saw a total of 264 athletes and officials from various sports receive their jabs at the Desa Tasik Sports Complex in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
The athletes including the shuttlers would receive their second dose in three weeks, just before they depart for the upcoming India Open (May 11-16).
The Super 500 event, which is one of the final three tournaments on the BWF World Tour offering qualification points to the upcoming Olympics, is set to be extra competitive with the return of the Chinese contingent.
There is no Chen Long, but the likes of Shi Yuqi, Huang Kaixiang-Liu Cheng and Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong will make an appearance after missing out on international action for over a year.
China are the only country who have yet to send their shuttlers for any international events this year, due to border restrictions to mitigate the pandemic.