BAM may sanction Zii Jia for quitting national team

Different paths: Lee Zii Jia (left) had been slated to be former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei’s replacement but whether it can still happen is now a matter of contention following the former’s resignation from BAM.

KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Zii Jia has quit the national team but he will know tomorrow whether he gets to play as an independent player.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria confirmed yesterday that the All-England champion had tendered his resignation last week.

However, the governing body will only announce their decision at 4pm tomorrow whether the world No. 7 will be sanctioned.

Previously, BAM have banned Tan Chun Seang from competing in Asia for two years in 2011 when he walked out on the national body.

Norza said they have done everything to retain the 23-year-old Zii Jia but it proved futile.

“BAM are not a static institution. We tried to (listen to Zii Jia) understand his situation without prejudice and had even (made a) counter offer to make him stay because he’s our No. 1 player,” said Norza after attending the flag-handing ceremony to the Malaysian contingent for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics from next month.

“However, he stood firm with his decision and that’s why we had to bring this matter to the Council (on Monday).

“As president, I’m obviously disappointed because we grinded hard to find a worthy replacement for Lee Chong Wei,” added Norza.

“Everyone, including our stakeholders chipped in to have a cash flow to make this happen.

“It’s akin to siblings chipping in to help fund another sibling’s studies. They all do this hoping that this sibling would one day contribute back to the family.

“But then comes a day when this sibling tells us that he wants to go his own way. So what can we do?

“I give you this analogy because if a player still has aspirations to realise his dreams, then we (BAM) will work hard for the sake of national interest.”

Norza said he will leave it to his deputy Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohd Yunoos to handle the matter but has made it clear that BAM will uphold their dignity and pride with their decisions.

“Our deputy will deliberate what are the concerns and the steps that will be taken by BAM as an association,” said Norza.

“Everything will be answered on Friday, let’s wait for it.”

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