KUALA LUMPUR: His own team of coaches and support service, choosing the tournaments he wanted to play in and acquiring his own sponsors.
These were the three “unrealistic” requests made by world No. 7 Lee Zii Jia that Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) could not meet and which eventually led to his decision to quit the national team.
The BAM deemed these requests as “impossible to fulfil” and eventually turned him down.
“Since he handed his resignation letter (on Jan 11), many concerted efforts were made by us through several informal discussions with Zii Jia to reconsider his decision.
“However, it was not successful,” said BAM deputy president II Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohd Yunoos, who’s also the chairman for the legal advisory committee.
“Zii Jia stood by his decision and he gave the following reasons.
“Firstly, he said that he cannot stand the pressure in the national squad, and that the lifestyle in the Academy Badminton Malaysia is regimented and he found it very difficult.
“Zii Jia then submitted fresh terms to continue his career with the BAM, but following a thorough deliberation, BAM have reached a decision to reject those terms.
“Under his terms, he wanted to have his own team of coaches and support service, to plan his own tournaments and to have his own sponsors.
“Obviously we found these requirements impossible to fulfil and unrealistic.”
Jahaberdeen added that the national body did relentlessly continue to persuade Zii Jia to stay on by counter-offering him with better financial perks, but those efforts proved futile.
“In recognition of his talent and also the fact that Zii Jia has been nurtured by BAM since he was 13 years old, BAM still offered him several lucrative, substantial incentives and good monetary benefits.
“However, Zii Jia has already made up his mind and did not want to reconsider his decision.”