Axelsen speaks his mind but Lund stays mum about Zii Jia’s issue

Come to Dubai: Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen getting ready to return a shot to Lee Zii Jia in the All-England final last year. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: One is vocal but the other is dead silent.

World No. 1 men’s singles Viktor Axelsen and Badminton World Federation (BWF) secretary-general Thomas Lund, both from Denmark, are certainly poles apart when it comes to giving their views on shuttler Lee Zii Jia, who has been slapped with a two-year exclusion from all international tournaments.

The world No. 7 Zii Jia quit the national team on Jan 11 to give his professional career a shot but it resulted in the Badminton Association of Malaysia serving the harsh punishment on Friday.

While sympathetic to the plight of the Malaysian, Axelsen welcomed Zii Jia to join him for training in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Tokyo Olympic Games champion is currently training in Dubai with several other players, including reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore.

“Zii Jia is welcome here in Dubai. I’m heartbroken to see the news the last few days, and also for Goh Jin Wei. It showcases that everything is wrong with the badminton world right now,” said Axelsen.

“I’m just crossing my fingers that there is a way around this. This should not be the way in a professional sport like badminton.”

Axelsen was one of the few first players to openly declare his support for Zii Jia and felt that the world body could also do their part by giving professional players an avenue to play.

As for Lund, he has chosen to stay mum.

A few questions were sent to him via the communications department on Zii Jia’s status and seeking clarity on the world body’s jurisdiction rule, but he preferred not to answer them.

“There is no comment from the BWF on the issue. Have a good weekend,” was a reply in a text from their press officer.

In section 5 on Jurisdiction, Player Entry Registration and Penalty under the BWF’s General Competition Regulations, it is stated that: “A player comes under the jurisdiction of all members to which the player is directly or indirectly affiliated.”

It went on to say in Clause 5.2.2: “A player comes under continued jurisdiction of a member for a period of 12 months after ceasing to reside in the country of that member.”

A source says that Zii Jia can play after the 12 months period by choosing either the national flag or of the country he has chosen to stay at, but BWF have yet to confirm on how it would be possible for Zii Jia to play.

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