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Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong returns to India’s Srikanth Nammalwar Kidambi during the Mixed Team Gold Medal badminton match between Malaysia and India on day five of the Commonwealth Games at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, central England, August 2, 2022. — AFP pic

Thursday, 04 Aug 2022 8:46 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Badminton fans in the country have been advised not to put undue pressure on national men’s singles player Ng Tze Yong who will start off his Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign tonight.

National badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei said the 22-year-old player’s game has progressed based on his performance when he helped Malaysia win the mixed team gold medal yesterday.

Chong Wei believed that Tze Yong would be able to repeat the brilliance he shown when he took down former world number one Kidambi Srikanth if he was given enough space.

“I’m sure national badminton coach Hendrawan will always support Tze Yong. We know he did his best yesterday but he needs to stay in his line, don’t get too proud because he has an individual event coming up.

“I think Tze Yong has found his game rhythm, it’s just that his journey is a bit difficult as he is expected to face world champion Loh Kean Yew (in the quarter-finals) who is ranked much higher,” he told Bernama here.

World number 42 Tze Yong created an upset by beating Srikanth 21-19, 6-21, 21-16 to win Malaysia’s second point in the national team’s 3-1 victory to reclaim the mixed team gold from India after losing to them in the 2018 edition finals.

Chong Wei was also confident that Tze Yong would be able to maintain his performance when he takes on Pakistan’s Muhammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham at 11.30pm (Malaysian time) tonight.

“Actually he (Tze Yong) has nothing to lose even if he loses to Kean Yew but if he wins then it’s a bonus….it’s easy to say that Tze Yong is a dark horse, just that he must give his all in the singles,” he said.

Chong Wei also added that Tze Yong still had some weaknesses to address to be on par with national professional player Lee Zii Jia, who is currently at the peak of his career.

He said Tze Yong needed to improve his fitness and physical strength to ensure he is always in tip top condition to reduce the risk of injury and that he should focus on increasing his ranking to at least the top 20 in the world.

“Hendrawan told me that he wants to make sure he (Tze Yong) goes to the Olympic Games, because Zii Jia has confirmed he will be going, but it would be better if there are two national representatives in the sport,” Chong Wei said. — Bernama