Lee Zii Jia (李梓嘉) stunned many when it was announced he was leaving the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM). There have been differing opinions on him leaving. There are rumours he did so for the money, others claim he couldn’t stand the pressure.
Zii Jia hasn’t been left adrift. He’s been supported by Danish shuttler Viktor Axelsen and Datuk Lee Chong Wei. Now, Malaysia’s men’s doubles pair Soh Wooi Yik (苏伟译) and Aaron Chia (谢定峰) have spoken up for their brother-in-arms. Additionally, former national player Goh Liu Ying (吴柳莹) has put her two cents in about the whole situation.
Both Aaron and Soh have always been close to Zii Jia. For instance, Soh has cheered Zii Jia on after a tough match. Even with Zii Jia’s shocking decision, the duo continue to staunchly remain at his side. Aaron made it clear that the decision was Zii Jia’s and Zii Jia’s alone. “We don’t have an opinion on it,” he said to Sin Chew Daily. Soh added, “We respect Zii Jia’s decision, and I won’t say anything (about it) for now.”
Liu Ying also publicly announced her support for Zii Jia’s decision. However, some suspect her of subtly throwing shade at BAM too. Liu Ying and her partner Chan Peng Soon (陈炳橓) had left BAM to be professional players. However, after Liu Ying retired, Chan opted to re-join BAM.
In her Instagram story, Liu Ying opined that it was better to leave a toxic environment than to wait for change. “Don’t waste your emotions on things you can’t change or handle, because your emotions can’t change the outcome of things other than the pain,” she wrote. “Don’t wait until you’ve lost it to keep it.” Although she did not mention Zii Jia’s name, many were quick to assume she was referring to his current situation.
Her advice couldn’t come at a better time. Around 4pm today, BAM officially announced Zii Jia’s departure. Additionally, they stated that both Zii Jia and former national player Goh Jin Wei will not be registered for international tournaments under Malaysia for two years.
The restriction is effective, starting 18th January 2022. The ban is startling as BAM is supposedly side-lining two of their best players, both who have left BAM for various reasons. Netizens too have expressed disappointment as Jin Wei and Zii Jia have stated their goals to bring Malaysia to greater heights.
Well, Zii Jia has promised to reveal why he decided to leave BAM after the official announcement was done. Will it pour oil on smoldering embers? Or will it effectively end the tension between BAM and its former players? We look forward to his response.