Malaysian favourite Lee Zii Jia will be up against France’s Brice Leverdez in the group stage (Group M) of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics next week. Whoever wins the encounter will most likely advance to the knockout stage.

While bookmakers will favour Lee Zii Jia by a lot, the 35-year old Frenchman is known for causing upsets. Leverdez knocked out Lee Chong Wei in the first round of the 2017 BWF World Championships, when Lee was the favourite to win the title.

Other familiar names including Chen Long and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting have also fallen victim to Leverdez in other tournaments.

Leverdez has many things going for him, to start with, it is very rare to see him crack under pressure. He will, in addition, have the advantage of experience and of being an underdog in his match-up with Lee Zii Jia.

He has also done some special training for the Olympics. Leverdez revealed to Badminton Europe that he has physically benefited a lot from high altitude training.

He said, “I’m practising badminton twice a day plus physical training, also with high altitude, as it will improve my physical abilities.

“Actually, only my bedroom is in high altitude, but it is simulating a high altitude. So, I sleep in high altitude, but I train in a normal altitude for badminton. Otherwise, it would not be badminton that I am playing, because the shuttlecocks would be much faster when playing in high altitude.”

The encounter between Lee Zii Jia and Brice Leverdez will definitely be an exciting match many will be looking forward to.

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