PETALING JAYA: Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (pic) has joined the bandwagon in support of shuttlers Lee Zii Jia and Goh Jin Wei.
Both Zii Jia and Jin Wei, who chose to turn professional, have been heavily penalised for it in the form of a two-year exclusion from all international tournaments by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) on Friday.
The Dane, a seasoned campaigner in the men’s singles, was appalled by the decision.
“They want to make a living for themselves playing badminton professionally. Honestly, how is that a crime? They haven’t done anything to discredit the sport nor their country,” said Vittinghus.
“BWF (Badminton World Federation) rules state that all entries must go through the national body. If your national body refuse to enter you, you’re basically left with three choices.
“Firstly, accept it, give up your passion and find a new job...
“Secondly, move to a different country, live there for 12 months and then start competing again. This is only a possibility if the new country accepts you and enter your name for tournaments.
“And thirdly, take it to the courts.”
Vittinghus said he understood that the national body (Badminton Association of Malaysia) had invested in the players.
“They have nurtured these players since they were young. Paid them, trained them and covered their expenses. But isn’t helping young players and helping the sport grow the task of a national body?
“Why does helping the players come with a restriction of the national body deciding if they can even compete in the sport? That’s insane.
“If it’s a financial issue, resolve it. Don’t take away the players’ life.
“Everyone loses under these rules. A decision like this is an outright disaster for badminton.
“I really do hope BWF (Badminton World Federation) soon realise that national federations can’t hold this kind of power.”