Broken, but with time and space Zii Jia will fix it

PETALING JAYA: From a hero to a broken man – shuttler Lee Zii Jia is going through one of the toughest times in his career.

And all the 23-year-old wants is some space to think through his next step before making a big leap in his future to keep alive his hopes of playing badminton.

“I’m so disappointed and this is a hard time for me,” said Zii Jia.

“I know there are many who are supporting me and I’m grateful but I need some time to clear my mind.

“I need some clarity to decide on what to do next… think through my plans.

“I hope you do understand… and when I’m ready, I will surely let everyone know of my next move,” said the world No. 7.

Zii Jia’s dream to play in his second Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 took a nosedive when the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) served him with a harsh punishment – by barring him from competing in international tournaments for two years.

And all because of his decision to quit the national set-up to start afresh as a professional player.

There are calls for both sides to reconsider their decisions and put the interests of the nation first but it’s likely that Zii Jia will continue with his pursuit for success as an independent player. He already has a global sponsor waiting to take him under their wings.

There are a few options for Zii Jia outside of the BAM.

He can move his training base out of Malaysia and stay there for at least a year. The Badminton World Federation allow those who stay in another country for a year to enter their names for competition via the member association of that country.

And if he wants a quick solution, the Kedahan may take the association to court to dispute their decision.