PETALING JAYA: Can there be a win-win situation for independent shuttler Lee Zii Jia to make a return to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) on a temporary basis?
It’s going to be a challenge for sure, unless one party compromises for the sake of Olympic Games glory.
World No. 4 Zii Jia has been included in the Road to Gold programme together with world No. 26 Ng Tze Yong in the singles but his training arrangement has yet to be finalised for the Paris Games.
Zii Jia, who reached the semi-finals of the All-England recently, will be meeting Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh soon to discuss on his status under Road to Gold.
The BAM can offer him to train at their state-of-art facilities at Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) even though Zii Jia is currently sponsored by Victor. All the national players are under the sponsorship of Yonex.
Zii Jia is determined to stand on his own two feet although it’s learnt that he has requested to use the training facilities daily.
He only gets to train there once a week under an earlier arrangement.
Former international Datuk Rashid Sidek feels a short-term arrangement can be made to accommodate Zii Jia until the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
“It’s tricky really to get a win-win situation. If winning the Olympic gold is the main focus, then there has to be compromises,” said Rashid.
“There are many things to consider like the different sponsors, sparring session arrangements, and who will coach Zii Jia or will his team be part of the plan too.
“Then there is also a question of fairness. What about independent pair Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin? Will they also enjoy the same arrangement as they too have the potential of winning a medal at the Olympics based on their current standing in the world.
“I think only the players considered to be medal prospects should enjoy this arrangement if it falls through.’’
Ee Yi and Yew Sin are ranked eighth in the world, just six rungs below world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik.
A country can have two pairs if both remain in the top eight after the end of the one-year Olympic qualifying round next April.
“BAM coaches will have their hands full guiding Tze Yong and Aaron-Wooi Yik.
‘‘What will their roles be with these independent players?
“Of course, everyone wants a win-win arrangement for all. After all, the nation will benefit from it as we have yet to win an Olympic Games gold.”