Just last week, badminton player Lee Zii Jia (李梓嘉) and his coach, Wong Tat Meng ended up butting heads with BAM over a newly implemented rule for training with the national team. Things got heated enough that even Datuk Lee Chong Wei (李宗偉) felt the need to step in.
After the reprimand, Lee Zii Jia had been staying mum, at least until his recent interview with Astro Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 25-year-old shuttler shared his thoughts on Lee Chong Wei’s rebuke and his plans for the World Championships.
Zii Jia had seemed resigned when asked if he agreed with Lee Chong Wei’s call out on his “selfishness”. “Like I said,” he started with a sigh. “Everyone has a right to speak out (and say) whatever he wants to say.” However, Zii Jia added they would be standing firm on the issue. “For me, of course, I will support (and) respect my coach’s decision,” he stated.
The World No. 13 men’s singles player clarified that the implementation of the rule had caught them off-guard. “Before this, we were attending the training as usual, so we assumed this was a program (in) preparation for the World Championships, but suddenly they changed the rules. I don’t know what happened,” Zii Jia told Astro Awani.
However, Zii Jia claimed this had not affected his own preparations for the upcoming tournament. He clarified that he had been training with Ng Tze Yong prior to the rule change, and both had benefited from the arrangement. “But, luckily we have Kantaphon Wangcharoen from Thailand, (who) was willing to come train with me,” he shared.
Regardless of his current issue with BAM, Lee Zii Jia has made it clear that his focus is still on the upcoming World Championships. “I always want to prove myself in every tournament. This includes this tournament, (which holds significance) for Malaysians,” he stated.
Well, there is no denying that Lee Zii Jia has a lot riding on his shoulders and as many have pointed out, a controversy over branded jerseys is the last thing he needs. Still, we wish him luck for Copenhagen and look forward to seeing him do his best on the court!
Watch the interview here:
— ASTRO ARENA (@ASTROARENA) August 20, 2023