Singles ace Tze Yong must win BAC to reignite Olympic hope

KUALA LUMPUR — National men’s singles ace Ng Tze Yong (picture) can still achieve his dream of making his maiden Olympic appearance at the 2024 edition in Paris provided he emerges triumphant in the April 9-14 Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) in Ningbo, China.

Although the 23-year-old is still undergoing rehabilitation following back surgery recently, Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) coaching director Rexy Mainaky said that, however, would depend on the shuttler, whether he still has the desire, drive and determination to compete on the world’s biggest stage.

“It’s up to Tze Yong whether he is confident to compete in the BAC. Otherwise, he should focus on preparing for the 2024 Thomas Cup Finals and forget about the Olympics.

“Tze Yong must go all out because, for him to get to the Olympics, he must emerge champion (at the BAC) and (this will depend on) whether the player still has the hunger or not to play at the Olympics,” he told reporters after a training session here today.

Tze Yong’s hopes of qualifying for Paris 2024 are in jeopardy after dropping out from the top 16 positions in the Race to Paris ranking list ahead of the April 28 Olympic qualifying deadline.

Professional shuttler Lee Zii Jia is in the best position to make his second Olympic appearance after Tokyo 2020 as he is currently placed 10th in the Race to Paris ranking list with 68,296 points.

A country can field a maximum of two players in the singles event if both are in the top 16 in the Race to Paris ranking list.

The 2024 Paris Olympics will be held from July 26 to Aug 11.

Meanwhile, Rexy explained that Tze Yong still can’t leap (to make smashes or retrieve shots) and his on-court movements are also quite limited.

The doubles specialist from Indonesia, however, hopes that world number 18 Tze Yong can overcome the trauma of his back injury and regain his self-confidence.

“(Men’s singles coach) Datuk Tey Seu Bock told me that there were times during gym training when Tze Yong would feel exasperated or fed up whenever he could not do certain things.

“We all want Tze Yong to get back his fitness but it all depends on him, whether he wants to push himself or not as he understands his body better… we can only monitor his progress,” he said. — BERNAMA / pic credit: MEDIA MULIA