As captain for both the upcoming Sudirman Cup (September 26-October 3) and Thomas Cup (October 9-17), Lee Zii Jia knows he will lead the firing line twice against Kento Momota in the span of less than a month.
The Malaysian is aware Momota, who lost tamely in his two appearances at the All-England in March and the recent Tokyo Olympics, would be working overtime to return to his best, and he wants nothing more than to play the Japanese in his top form.
“I believe Momota has been working hard to return to his best, and I definitely want to play him at his best. This is a team event, and the dynamics will be different. Leading this young, I can say I am one of the most experienced player in the team.
“This is our time to shine and we’re going to try and make it happen,” he said after the visit of Youth & Sports Minister Faizal Azumu and deputy Ti Lian Ker to the Academy Badminton Malaysia on Saturday.
Zii Jia finally broke his duck against Momota at the All-England, winning in straight games in the quarter-final before going on to claim his biggest career title.
Meanwhile for Lee Meng Yean, there would be a new chapter with a different partner following the retirement of Chow Mei Kuan after the Tokyo Olympics.
Meng Yean would not feature at the Sudirman Cup, but she would contest the Uber Cup in Oct with 19-year-old Go Pei Kee, and after that team up with Yap Cheng Wen at the Denmark Open (October 19-24) and French Open (October 26-31).
“I’m hoping to confirm a new partner and start performing again. Mei Kuan is a right hander, while Cheng Wen is a left handed, so tactically it will be a different challenge. But I am looking forward to it,” she said.
Malaysia are in Group D of the Sudirman Cup with Japan, England and Egypt.
In the Thomas Cup, they are housed in Group D with Japan, England and Canada, while the Uber Cup team are also in Group D with China, Denmark and Canada.
? Official visit by Minister YB Dato’Sri @PejaOfPerak and Deputy Minister YB Senator Dato’ Sri Ti Lian Ker of Youth & Sports to ABM, earlier today#DemiMalaysia#BadmintonMalaysia pic.twitter.com/ESUgHkYPe6— BAM (@BA_Malaysia) September 18, 2021