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Zii Jia, Chong Wei Have Some Similarities – Misbun



KUALA LUMPUR, 7 April — Newly crowned All England men’s badminton champion 2021, Lee Zii Jia, 23, has some similarities with former world number one player Datuk Lee Chong Wei, according to national badminton legend, Datuk Misbun Sidek.

The national junior badminton squad’s technical director said comparisons could be made based on Zii Jia’s capability and charisma, besides his personal traits in carving a career towards becoming the best player in the world.

“If at this young age, he could smash his way to victory while coping with the tremendous pressure at major competitions, Zii Jia has more to offer and achieve, considering he had only played twice at the All England. Last year, he reached the quarter-finals and this year, he’s the champion.

“He has the same characteristics and charisma (as Chong Wei’s), and the way he carries himself…it’s there,” he told reporters at Istana Negara yesterday.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah had graced a tea reception with the national badminton squad to the All England Open Badminton Championships 2021 at the palace.

Zii Jia became a national badminton sensation with his first All England title last month after trouncing big names such as world number one player, Japan’s Kento Momota in the quarter-finals before defeating the defending champion, Viktor Axelsen from Denmark in the final.

“But now, the question is how to shape him (Zii Jia) towards becoming a more competent and stronger player from all aspects, meaning, physically, technically, tactically, mentally and sensorially,” said Misbun.

As the individual responsible in unearthing Chong Wei and Zii Jia’s talent in the sport and shaping them into champions, Misbun opined that Zii Jia should focus on improving his physical fitness to be a more stable player at all high-level competitions.

Sources: BERNAMA

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Japan To Impose Fresh COVID-19 Emergency In Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo



TOKYO, April 21 – The government plans to impose a fresh coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures soon as a surge in severe cases chokes the areas’ health care systems, according to government sources.

The development comes after the Osaka prefectural government asked Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government Tuesday to issue such a declaration. The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to make a similar request in a matter of days, reported Kyodo.

Referring to Osaka’s request, Suga said Tuesday that his government will “swiftly reach a conclusion after thoroughly assessing the situation and studying measures.”

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura seeks the temporary closure of major amusement and commercial facilities, in addition to current measures including asking establishments serving food and drinks to shorten business hours.

Touching on the sharp rise in infections in Hyogo, Suga said he will draw a conclusion after examining the situation there.

It would be the third time for the government to declare an emergency since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic early last year in Japan, and come just three months before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

However, Suga has said a fresh state of emergency would not affect the hosting of the Olympics and Paralympics, reiterating that the government will continue efforts to stage a safe and secure games.

Once an emergency is declared, Yoshimura intends to cancel or postpone basically all events in Osaka Prefecture and ask companies again to implement telework, among other measures.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike is eying requesting leisure facilities among other sectors to temporarily cease operations


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Arsenal Confirmed To Withdraw From European Super League



Recently, Arsenal has confirmed that the club is withdrawing from the current 12-team group that has announced plans for a proposed European Super League on Sunday night. The decision marks a humiliating climbdown for the Kroenke family who had signed us up for the breakaway competition behind the backs of supporters, club staff, players, and the coaching team.

The decision for the u-turn in the Emirates boardroom comes after Manchester City pulled out and also Manchester United announced that CEO Ed Woodward, a major powerbroker in the negotiations, would be stepping down at the end of the season. According to a source, The European Super League will be founded by Florentino Perez, President of Real Madrid, and 14 other founding club owners who want to join the new league. This is strongly opposed by FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A.

According to the open letter made by Arsenal that mentioned, “The last few days have shown us yet again the depth of feeling our supporters around the world have for this great club and the game we love. We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought”.

They also added, “It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future. As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days, we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologize for it. We know it will take time to restore your faith in what we are trying to achieve here at Arsenal but let us be clear that the decision to be part of the Super League was driven by our desire to protect Arsenal, the club you love, and to support the game you love through greater solidarity and financial stability”.

Sources: Twitter Arsenal, Arsenal

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12 Top European Football Clubs Agree To Join New League Despite Condemnation From Governing Bodies



LONDON, April 19 — Twelve top European football clubs, including six English Premier League sides, have announced to join a new European Super League, despite condemnation from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and other football governing bodies earlier on Sunday.

The Premier League “Big Six” Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham together with Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid of Spain as well as Italy’s AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus all agreed to join the European Super League, a new mid-week competition founded by the 12 clubs.

The league is planned to include 20 clubs, starting in August with two groups of ten and playing home and away fixtures with the top six in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals, reported Xinhua news agency.

Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

Real Madrid president and the first chairman of the Super League, Florentino Perez said, “We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

Several hours prior to the announcement, UEFA released a statement condemning the plan in advance, reiterating that they and the football governing bodies of England, Italy, and Spain “will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.”

The European football governing body said it will consider all measures available in order to prevent the league from taking place. It also insisted that the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European, or international level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described on Twitter that the Super League “would be very damaging for football” and urged “the clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”

However, the 12 founding clubs believed that they need to create a format for top clubs to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.

“By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid,” said Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United and vice-chairman of the Super League.

Sources: BERNAMA

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