National player Lee Zii Jia (李梓嘉) has worked hard to achieve the success he has under his belt. However, he can’t take all the credit. Plenty of people in his life have been instrumental in helping him get where he is today. That includes his sister, Lee Zii Yii (李梓瑜).
Zii Yii has always been backing her brother in his badminton career. However, it was only recently that she decided to take a more active and official role in helping Zii Jia.
Zii Jia has shared that his family has always had an interest in badminton. This love was passed down from his parents to him and his siblings. While his brother Lee Tao hadn’t devoted himself to badminton, he enjoyed playing several different sports. However, both Zii Jia and Zii Yii committed to badminton. “(Lee Tao) didn’t want to pursue badminton because he said he didn’t want to suffer in training like us,” Zii Yii shared while laughing.
Zii Yii had actually been the first of the duo to join BAM (the Badminton Association of Malaysia) at 14 in 2011. “Zii Jia joined a year later,” she said. Unfortunately, Zii Yii’s eight years as a singles player in BAM came to a halt thanks to a knee injury. Nonetheless, Zii Yii remained proud of what her brother had achieved.
Zii Jia hasn’t had an easy childhood. In fact, Zii Yii described him as a “troublesome” child. “But in a good way though,” she added. “His pathway has always been difficult, but that has only made him a very determined person.” It’s hard to dispute that. Zii Jia has previously shared how he was bullied while studying in Bukit Jalil Sports School. Additionally, more trouble cropped up with BAM when he turned professional.
The 26-year-old herself studied Sports Science in University Malaya from 2016 to 2020. She had initially been planning to further her studies in Physiology by going abroad. Yet, things got difficult thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Then came (Zii Jia’s) big win at the All-England and suddenly everything changed,” she said.
Zii Yii started helping Zii Jia out but the tipping point came when he turned professional. “He needed someone whom he can trust and I decided to put all my plans on hold to support him,” she explained. Zii Yii then decided to commit to her supporting him by being his full-time team manager.
Her role as Zii Jia’s manager hasn’t been easy, especially since she admitted to not being familiar with managing and administration work. “I have had to look at contracts and legal matters which were new to me, but I’ve adapted,” Zii Yii stated. “We have a lawyer now to advise us as well.”
Zii Yii is proud of what Zii Jia has achieved so far. “He has his own way of handling things and despite all the ups and downs, I love my little brother very much,” she said. Zii Yii is confident Zii Jia will do well as an independent player.
Currently, Zii Yii is joining her brother while he attends tournaments. However, once he has settled down, Zii Yii hopes to manage the administration part while remaining at home. Well, it must be encouraging for Zii Jia to know his sister has his back!
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