KUALA LUMPUR: All’s well that ends well for Lee Zii Jia.
But the question now is will the world No. 7 be completely exempted from the two-year ban imposed on him from Jan 11 by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last week for quitting the national team prematurely?
Both the BAM and Zii Jia appeared to have reached an amicable solution following a “very positive” meeting between the two parties at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
No further details were furnished but the BAM have assured all Malaysians that a win-win verdict is set to be delivered next week while Zii Jia also said that he will be addressing the media through a press conference after the verdict is out.
But one thing’s for sure, the All-England champion’s path to turning professional was paved after he took to his social media accounts to declare his “independence” after receiving the blessings from BAM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria following a heart-to-heart talk yesterday.
Zii Jia also hinted that he would escape any sort of sanction by underlining his commitment to play for Malaysia in the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Shah Alam from Feb 15-20.
All signs are certainly pointing towards Zii Jia being released on conditions, most possibly with a compensation amount agreed to by the two parties.
This comes after BAM treasurer Datuk Michael Tang was also among the BAM top brass who was present at yesterday’s meeting apart from deputy president II Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohd Yunoos and secretary Datuk Kenny Goh.
When asked if the BAM were actually bowing to the growing pressure by both the Youth and Sports Ministry and Malaysians, who were angered by their harsh treatment of Zii Jia, Jahaberdeen said: “I would say that when we decided to take the action that we took against Zii Jia, that was consistent with our policy, consistent with the contract and everything.“Even then, at the last press conference (last Saturday), I have mentioned that there’s always an avenue to appeal.
“Therefore, I would say that this is not due to pressure from anybody but again this is consistent with BAM’s policy acting as a governing body for the sport of badminton in this country.
“We saw that Zii Jia is a highly determined (player), so we came to a conclusion on why we should not help him if it doesn’t injure BAM and other players.
“We want to develop all Malaysian players including Zii Jia and not deprive them of their chances.
“Zii Jia has a long career ahead. BAM as the governing body will help to nurture all players regardless of whether they are professionals or national players.”
Jahaberdeen has played down suggestions that the BAM have imposed “conditions” for Zii Jia to agree upon.
“I wouldn’t say these were conditions (made by BAM) because there was a discussion held between the two parties following an appeal made (by Zii Jia),” explained Jahaberdeen.
“Ultimately, both parties have reached an outcome which we will be announcing next week. But surely, this is one decision that will surely satisfy Zii Jia and also the country and BAM.”