Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


All-England champ Lee Zii Jia exits Malaysia National team to compete independently

World No. 7 badminton ace Lee Zii Jia has parted ways with the Malaysian National team and will train and play independently from 2022.

Malaysias Lee Zii Jia has resigned from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)

Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia has resigned from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) 


Sohinee Basu

Published: 20 Jan 2022 2:07 PM GMT

Calling it quits with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), young badminton sensation Lee Zii Jia and the reigning All England Open champion resigned from the Malaysian National Team and has decided to compete independently.

Said to have the style and expected to walk in the footsteps of Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei, Lee Zii Jia is a sensational player to watch and was enjoying a beautiful streak at the beginning of 2021, going on to win the prestigious All England trophy and was even a medal favourite at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, the World No. 7 badminton player's form has dropped since that triumph as he lost to Rio Olympic champion Chen Long in Tokyo and even at the World Championships in Huelva, Spain, Zii Jia had to retire with an injury in the quarter-finals to Anders Antonsen.

The badminton calendar has been incredibly hectic in the latter half of 2021, with back to back tournament schedules in Europe and then, Indonesia, followed by the World Championships in Spain, which obviously took a toll on the body of the 23-year-old, whose form has not been razor-sharp as usual.

Lee Zii Jia (Source: AFP)

After a lot of pondering and rumors doing the air, the Badminton Association of Malaysia's president Norza Zakaria confirmed that their marquee player has resigned from the National Team earlier this month. "We see Zii Jia as an asset and we tried to persuade him (to stay) because we have groomed him since he was 13," he was cited as saying by The Star newspaper.

"Now that he has reached this stage, winning the All England, we certainly didn't want to lose him because he has a bright future," the President said, clearly not happy with the decision taken.

"However, he told us that he's no Lee Chong Wei and he cannot cope with the pressure," Norza mentioned. Ever since Lee Zii Jia started tasting success, the pressure on him has actually increased by folds as he is expected to fill in for the Malaysian legend's shoes. Lee Chong Wei, is one of the bests that the game of badminton and Malaysia has ever produced and it is not an easy task to live up to the greatness of the 3-time Olympic silver medallist.

Speaking in support of Zii Jia's decision, World No. 1 player, Viktor Axelsen took to Twitter to voice his opinion. In fact, Axelsen also changed addresses from his home in Copenhagen, Denmark and shifted to Dubai for a variety of reasons and has only limited ties with the Danish National Team. Although Axelsen will continue to play under the Denmark flag, he is no longer privy to the perks of being with the National Team.

"If a player... feels it's best for him to follow another path where he is more independent as a player, then that is what he should do," the Olympic gold medallist tweeted, speaking in favour of Zii Jia's decision. This kind of a statement also throws light on the fact that Axelsen may be willing to have Lee Zii Jia over in Dubai to train with him, where the Olympic gold medallist already trains with the World Champion, Loh Kean Yew, among others.

"It's his career and his life after all," Axelsen stressed in the tweet.

The only concerning bit is that Lee Zii Jia's decision may lead to some sanctions on the behalf of the BAM. Previously, BAM banned Tan Chun Seang from playing in Asian countries for two years after he quit the national team. However, given that Zii Jia is an asset, like the BAM President mentioned, hopefully, the World No. 7 player won't have to face anything harsh for this.

Next Story