Malaysian badminton star Lee Zii Jia will not be allowed to apply for international tournaments for two years through the federation of his country, which is why he will face the possibility of not playing on the BWF international tour during that period.
Zii Jia, the seventh in the world, recently left his country’s national team to decide to play as an independent shuttleman. He was held as the successor to Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei, quickly climbed the ladder and achieved a big win at the prestigious All England Open last year. But towards the end of 2021, his results suffered on tour due to a combination of performances and injuries.
“… under the terms of his contract, after lengthy deliberation, BAM has decided not to register Lee Zii Jia for any international tournaments for a period of two years starting January 18, 2022,” said Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, Vice President Badminton Federation of Malaysia, at a press conference.
The situation also applied to Goh Jin Wei, a former junior world champion in the women’s singles competition who retired due to health problems but now wants to return to the track, albeit on her own. It will not be reported for events two years back from October 31, 2021.
He later added that the situation could be different if the players decide to return to BAM.
“If they are required to be registered in any case that requires registration from BAM as the Malaysian governing body, we are not registering them,” the vice president told a news conference.
The BWF requires that even independent players be registered through member federations, whether they are part of the national team or not. Yunoos also insisted that we do not ban anyone … we do not register them. We still use the word ban, that’s not true. There are legal and factual differences. We do not register them. Why? Because it’s ironic to register someone who doesn’t want to be with BAM. “
Yunoos added that Zii Jia, orally but not in the official resignation letter, while presenting his decision to withdraw, claimed that the pressure from the national team was too great and that he considered that the methods were prescribed. There have been attempts to renegotiate the terms where Zii Jia wanted his team of coaches, sponsors, but that didn’t go for BAM, which has supported him for more than a decade.
After a week of speculation, BAM president Norza Zakaria recently confirmed that Malaysia’s best player left the body earlier this month.
“We see Zia Jia as an advantage and we tried to convince him (to stay) because we have nurtured him since he was 13,” he told The Star newspaper.
“Now that he’s reached this stage, winning All England, we certainly didn’t want to lose him because he has a bright future.”
“However, he told us that he is not Lee Chong Wei and that he cannot cope with the pressure,” Norza added.
Earlier on Friday, world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen offered support to Zia Jia.
The deputy vice president said negotiations with Zii Ji had proved futile. The 24-year-old shuttler did not want to reconsider his decision despite BAM’s attempts to discuss the terms. That decision had to be made in the national interests and to protect the interests of the sponsors with BAM, and it was stated that this was only a procedure and not a punishment.
“Obviously we feel extremely sad” about Zii Jia’s decision, Yunoos told reporters, adding that it could affect training programs and body finances if players decide to terminate the contract.
But he added that the player can appeal for a return.
Zii Jia, previously considered one of Malaysia’s biggest hopes of winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal, has yet to comment publicly since news surfaced that he was severing ties with BAM. But he posted the story on Instagram, thanking the former decorated Malaysian player for his support.
“BAM is sympathetic and we are ready to welcome these players with open arms, if they are ready to file a complaint,” Yoonus told the media during a press conference. New Straits Times.
“This has happened in the past, with Toh Ee Wei (mixed couples). She was also threatened with a two-year sentence, but she appealed and we returned her.
“But we have to be clear that BAM is bigger than any player. This is in the national interest. “
Earlier this week, Axelsen voiced support for Zia Jia’s decision to become independent, tweeting that “it’s his career and his life after all.”
The BWF did not specifically comment on the Zii Jia case. But in a statement Thursday, according to AFP, its chief secretary Thomas Lund noted that there was a precedent when independent players and a member state federation reached an agreement under which the federation would apply for player tournaments.
Three-time Olympic silver medalist Lee Chong Wei, who retired in 2019, was one of the greatest players of his generation.
Danish veteran HK Vittinghus also strongly supported Lee Zii Jia, stating on his Facebook page that “A decision like today’s is a complete disaster for badminton.”
Anders Antonsen, who could be the last player to play Zii Jia on tour for a while, gave his support to him and Goh Jin Wei, calling out both BAM and BWF for poor system.
With AFP inputs