Malaysia’s top national men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia has been slapped with a 2-year ban from playing in international tournaments following his announcement to quit the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
In a press conference yesterday (21 January), BAM deputy president Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos said they will not register Zii Jia for any tournaments for 2 years with effect from 18 January.
Jahaberdeen said the BAM had held a series of discussions with world #7 Zii Jia after he tendered his resignation letter on 11 January.
“However, Zii Jia has stood by his decision, claiming that he can’t stand the pressure of being in the national squad and the regimented lifestyle at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM). During one of the discussions, he also submitted several terms, which we rejected.”
“Those terms were to have his own team of coaches and support staff, to plan his own tournaments and to have his own sponsors. We have to take this difficult decision for national interest and financial consequences, having groomed the player for 11 years,” he said.
Apart from Zii Jia, BAM have also slapped a similar 2 year ban on former junior world champion Goh Jin Wei, who left the national badminton governing body last year citing health reasons. Her ban is effective from 31 October 2021.
“If they are playing in tournaments, it requires the registration of BAM as the governing body in Malaysia,” Jahaberdeen added.
However, he said BAM has no intention to fine the shuttlers for now, and that they can appeal against the decision anytime. He added that the doors of BAM is open for them to return too.
After this announcement, sports fans were disappointed with BAM’s decision to take such actions on the world #7 shuttler. Some pointed out that the association’s actions actually hurt the sport rather than help it grow.
Meanwhile, Lee can still play as a professional player sooner than expected for Malaysia even if BAM decide to ban him for 2 years.
There is a rule in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) that allows him to do so but he has to move to another country first.
He can move his training base to Dubai, and if he stays there for a duration of time, his name can be entered by the United Arab Emirates Badminton Federation for international tournaments.
He does not have to change his citizenship. He can still choose to play under the Malaysian flag.
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