Don’t give face, BAM

PETALING JAYA: Lee Zii Jia deserves to be penalised.

Former great Datuk Rashid Sidek (pic) says that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) should take a strong stand against national No. 1 Zii Jia on his drastic decision to leave the national team as to prevent an exodus of players in the future.

Rashid feels that a player should not hold the national body to ransom.

“We should not give face to players like these. After all, the national body have done so much for Zii Jia and provided him with a platform to grow from a junior to a world-class player,” said Rashid.

Rashid was responding to world No. 7 Zii Jia’s surprise decision to quit the national team to become a professional player.

The move may land Zii Jia with a sanction as the national body can stop him from competing in international tournaments.

The BAM have set a precedent in 2011 when they banned Tan Chun Seang for two years from competing in tournaments in Asia after he walked out on the national body.

They have also stopped Toh Ee Wei from competing in tournaments when she left (before rejoining last year) while Goh Jin Wei, who recently turned pro, was also prevented from competing in the Indian Open under the same principle.

Rashid said if the BAM did not penalise the players, others would not respect them as a parent body.

“If BAM compromise on this, I fear that many other young ones will leave the national fold,” he said.

Besides, Rashid feels that Zii Jia has no strong case to make demands unlike his predecessor Lee Chong Wei.

“Chong Wei did get special treatment but that was after he had achieved many results for a long time but Zii Jia is just beginning his career at the top level. He can’t expect the same,” he said.

The BAM will announce their decision today at 4pm on whether to give Zii Jia the blessing to play as an independent player or to ban him from competing in international tournaments.

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