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No let-up for Zii Jia in remainder of Olympics qualifiers

Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia in action to beat Anders Antonsen of Denmark in first round of Malaysian masters at Axiata Arena at Bukit Jalil yesterday.Lee Zia won 14-21,21-15,21-8

PETALING JAYA: World No. 10 Lee Zii Jia may have all but assured his place at the Tokyo Olympics next year, but he has no intention of taking the remainder of the qualifiers lightly when they resume in March.

The 22-year-old is out to improve on his position in the Race to Tokyo rankings in order to be one of the seeded players at the Tokyo Games from July 23 to Aug 8.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) had on Monday announced several changes related to qualification and seedings for the Olympics.

The world body said the final Race to Tokyo standings on May 18 will be used as seeding for the Olympics instead of being based on the latest world rankings list, usually three weeks prior to the Games.

The BWF did not indicate the reason for the change, but it was obvious they wanted to ensure all the Olympics hopefuls are fairly seeded considering the disruption caused by of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The present world rankings, frozen since the All-England in mid-March, will be reopened in early February.

Zii Jia, who’s presently ninth in the Race to Tokyo standings, has vowed to climb the ranks by contending for honours in the remaining qualifying events from March to May.

The six qualifiers Zii Jia could feature in are the Swiss Open (March 2-7), German Open (March 9-14), Malaysian Open (March 31-April 4), Singapore Open (April 13-18), Asian Badminton Championships (April 27-May 2) and Indian Open (May 11-16).

“I’m not sure how many I will be sent to compete in, but there’s an added incentive now to perform well in these qualifiers and I must make it count, ” said Zii Jia.

“But whether the seeding is based on the world rankings or Race to Tokyo (standings), it’s my target to do well in every single tournament once the season resumes next year. There’re no two ways about it if I want to improve on my ranking.

“I want to finish as high as I can, so that I will head to Tokyo as one of the seeded players. This would help me get a favourable draw.”

Source: The Star Online

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