IS ZII JIA QUITTING BAM?

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 – The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) is hot news again, within hours of announcing a major re-structuring exercise in its coaching set-up on Tuesday which will see incumbent coaching director Wong Choong Hann handling the singles department while Indonesian Rexy Mainaky the doubles department.
In the news this time is Malaysia’s top shuttler Lee Zii Jia. A news portal had reported that the 23-year-old from Kedah is set to leave the BAM and become professional player following lucrative offers from sponsors.
BAM secretary-general Datuk Kenny Goh, however, has denied the report and said in a Facebook posting that he is “unaware” of the developments involving the said player.
“Zii Jia is 100 per cent focused on his mission, the Paris 2024 Olympics. His determination and vision remains the same,” said Kenny, who is also the chairman of the BAM Coaching and Training Committee.
Zii Jia, the reigning All-England champion, jolted the badminton world by winning the prestigious event in Birmingham, has since then been battling a roller-coaster run in his badminton career. He is also the reigning SEA Games champion.
After his success in winning the All-England, Zii Jia was hailed as a potential gold medal winner at the Tokyo Olympics. Instead, he came back empty handed.
He has been struggling in his game – mainly attributed to lack of mental strength as was seen during the recent hectic three months, including the Sudirman Cup and the Thomas Cup Finals in Europe.
On the Indonesia-leg of the tour, Zii Jia was Malaysia’s hope in the Indonesia Masters, the Indonesian Open and the season-ending World Tour Finals in Bali.
Zii Jia was also Malaysia’s hope in the World Championships in Huelva, Spain but was blistered out in the quarter-finals when he retired against Denmark’s Anders Antonsen in the rubber game.
According to Datuk Kenny, Zii Jia himself is surprised with the report in the news portal on him turning professional.
“I spoke to Zii Jia on the matter. The player expressed surprise on the news report,” said Kenny.
While the matter has been put to rest for now with Kenny’s statement, it is left to be seen what is coming next from the BAM stable.

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