Kuala Lumpur: Getting stuck in quarantine has disrupted training for the reigning All England champion, Lee Zii Jia, and the 23-year-old downplayed expectations of winning the two tournaments which were also the last two Olympic qualifiers.
Lee said the two tournaments were important warm-ups before the actual action at the Olympic Games scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo.
The World No. 8 who resumed training last Friday after undergoing quarantine for almost two weeks following 15 COVID-19 cases were discovered at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM), admitted that time was running out to prepare for the Malaysian Open (May 25 to May 30), and the Singapore Open (June 1 to June 6).
“There are only two weeks left, I’ll try what I can,” said Lee after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday.
Lee told reporters that he was more confident of participating in tournaments abroad after getting the second shot, but said the risk of getting a coronavirus infection was still there, he still needed to be careful.
“When we enter the court, we do not wear face masks, so it is difficult to prevent us from getting infected. All we can do is to remain vigilant in following COVID-19 safety procedures as we do not know who was infected,” added Lee.
Despite the Malaysian government had imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on foreigners from 40 countries, the coaching director of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), Wong Choong Hann said most of the big names in badminton have registered for the Malaysia Open.
“So far, no countries have said that they are planning to withdraw from the tournament. We’ll see what happens when the government releases the tournament’s standard operating procedure (SOP),” said Wong.