PETALING JAYA: It was least expected but national No. 1 Lee Zii Jia became the first professional shuttler to attend the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) joint training session.
The world No. 2 showed up and participated in matchplays for two hours with the BAM players, which included Leong Jun Hao, Justin Hoh, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin and several others at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) on Saturday.
Zii Jia left the BAM setup early this year to focus on his professional career. Last week, he parted ways with his coach Indra Wijaya of Indonesia.
National singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann said they had accommodated Zii Jia's request for training on Saturday although the matchplay sessions were only open for the professionals on Wednesday (singles) and Friday (doubles).
BAM have decided to invite independent shuttlers, those ranked top 30 in the world, to have quality joint sessions for the betterment of the sport in the country.
"I received a call from Zii Jia's sister Zii Yii whether he can play on Saturday. We said okay for this one first although the slots allocated are on Wednesdays," said Choong Hann.
"He is the first professional player to actually turn up for our joint matchplay session."
The other who has indicated interest to join in is Liew Daren.