2022 started with a pretty big bombshell. On top of Lee Zii Jia (李梓嘉) resigning from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), BAM also announced a ban on Zii Jia and Goh Jin Wei (吴堇溦). The ban prevents the two former national players from competing internationally under Malaysia’s name.
BAM announced the ban after Zii Jia expressed his desire to go independent, similar to Jin Wei’s plans. Although both players had their reasons, BAM persisted with their decision. Many have felt it is unfair, especially the duo themselves. While Zii Jia stated he’s still figuring out his future plans, Jin Wei recently pleaded her case via a YouTube video.
The former women’s singles shuttler expressed her disappointment with the decision on 22nd January. However, it was about more than just being prohibited from playing. Jin Wei brought up several questions about the ban. For one, Jin Wei clarified that she had tendered her resignation to BAM in September 2021. “There was no objection for so long,” she pointed out. “Why is there (only) an issue (now)?”
Additionally, Jin Wei revealed that she had successfully managed to register for the 2022 India Open held earlier this month (11th to 16th January). For those not in the know, the Badminton World Federation states that players must register for tournaments via their country’s association, regardless of whether the players are under them or not. Jin Wei stated that she had agreed to pull her name from the tournament so that she could discuss her future plans with BAM. Her registration proved one thing to her. “It means that I actually have the rights to play and I’m not breaching any (policies),” she said.
Finally, Jin Wei made it clear how badly the ban would affect her, especially since it was her livelihood. “Badminton is the only skill set I know, and it’s my job. How am I going to survive then?” she asked. Jin Wei had stated earlier her reasons for not re-joining BAM. “Based on my health history and condition, I couldn’t give 100% commitment and stand (the) rigorous training regime,” she said. Jin Wei added that everyone knew it. Her opting to go independent was to allow her to monitor her own health while still giving her all to train.
“I’m sure that I can still bring glory to Malaysia again,” Jin Wei promised. “So, I really don’t know what I did wrong that actually caused me to be banned from international tournaments for two years. Despite (me) giving my best effort all the time to serve Malaysia.”
Both Jin Wei and Zii Jia have received overwhelming support from many, both fans and fellow players. Danish shuttler Viktor Axelsen in particular has been a strong advocate for their case. “I’ve heartbroken to see the news with Zii Jia and Jin Wei,” he said in an interview with Astro Arena. “And I’m crossing my fingers there is a way around this.” Although he extended an invitation to Zii Jia to train with him in Dubai, he did advise the duo to figure the current situation out first as it is more important.
We sincerely hope we won’t have to wait two years to see Jin Wei back on the court. Everyone has seen both her and Zii Jia’s passion for the sport and their burning desire to take Malaysia to the top. However, the ball is now in BAM’s court. As such, we will have to wait and see if the ban will persist, or will it be overturned.
Watch their video here: