PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s chef de mission to the Paris Olympic Games 2024, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, hopes badminton player Ng Tze Yong (pix) can soon recover from his injuries so as not to jeopardise his chances of qualifying for the games.

He said they are still hoping that the 23-year-old shuttler can qualify together with the country’s top singles player Lee Zii Jia for the games, which will be held from July 26 to Aug 11.

“We wish him a speedy recovery (to play in qualifying tournaments). If not, his chances of qualifying may be just 50-50,” he told reporters after meeting national sailor Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif here today.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last Saturday announced that Tze Yong would skip the French Open from March 5-10 and All England (March 12-17) to undergo surgery this week to fix a back injury.

The surgery is expected to put Tze Yong out of action for two to six weeks, disrupting his hunt for a Paris 2024 ticket as the qualifying period ends on April 28.

Tze Yong’s dream of making his Olympics debut is hanging in the balance after he injured his lower back muscle in the Malaysian Open last month and his spine in the Badminton Asia Team Championships recently.

A country can only send two players for the singles if both are in the top 16 of the Race to Paris rankings at the end of the qualifying period.

Zii Jia is now in 10th spot and Tze Yong is 15th, which means the latter might drop out of the top 16 if he doesn’t return to action soon.

Meanwhile, Hamidin said although Nur Shazrin (women’s ILCA 6), diver Bertrand Rhodict Lises (men’s 10m platform) and archer Ariana Nur Dania Mohamad Zairi (women’s recurve) are not in the Road to Gold (RTG) programme despite having qualified for Paris 2024, they would still get the necessary support from the Youth and Sports Ministry.

“The minister (Hannah Yeoh) is very concerned about athletes. Although not in the RTG, they will still get help through the National Sports Council, National Sports Institute and Olympic Council of Malaysia. Apart from chasing for gold, we also want medals of other colours because the contingent is shrinking due to the failure of several athletes to qualify.

“I can see the huge potential and character of Bertrand and Ariana as they are both just 19. They are young and if properly nurtured, they can be our main hope for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles and other major competitions,” he added. -Bernama

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