Yesterday (Thursday, 30th June), Malaysian badminton player Lee Zii Jia (李梓嘉) was defeated in a tense match against Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in the second round of the Men’s Singles Malaysian Open. Apparently, news has been circulating that a rude remark intended for Zii Jia was heard during the game at Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur.
Supporters took to social media to bring to light of yesterday’s incident, where a user posted screenshots of Facebook comments on Twitter. A Facebook user wrote she was informed in the WhatsApp group by her friends who attended the tournament. A group of people could be heard calling the athlete a ‘traitor’ for dropping out of the Commonwealth Games while he was about to serve the third match set.
Poor Lee Zii Jia. Playing at his home ground and being treated like shit. He doesn't deserve this 💔 he was treated well when playing in other countries but not at his home ground. He's a human like all of us. How could some of you called him a traitor 😭 https://t.co/fyOJg882rR
— LVA 洛丽雅 (@loriavanessaa) July 1, 2022
“There was a group of voices calling him ‘pengkhianat’ (traitor) when he was leading and about to serve the third game set. My friends who were there at the match messaged me about this group. Mind you, the noise has been going on since the Malaysian open commenced,” she wrote on Facebook. She added the bunch of spectators also booed him and he lost his concentration afterwards.
The revelation of the disturbance has received the attention of netizens on Twitter, where they have expressed their rage and support to the 2022 Asian Championships gold medalist after yesterday’s shocking match and disturbance. “What was the point of going to the stadium (to watch the match) just to cuss him out”, “No one deserves to be treated like this”, “He lost because of your foul mouth”, they wrote.
Zii Jia said after the match that he (Shesar Hiren) performed well. “I made many mistakes (during the game). I struggled during the previous matches as well, he is a terrific athlete. Thank you for the support, I will try again next time,” added him.
It is known that the badminton hotshot recently announced to sit out of the upcoming Commonwealth Games to focus on the BWF 2022 World Championships. This is due to a recurring injury, and he wished to have enough time for a full recovery and be at his best for the next tournament.
Anis Sharina contributed to this article.