Lee Zii Jia, the professional singles shuttler, is set to return to Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) for centralized training ahead of the Asian Games, as the apparel issue that caused his absence has been resolved. Zii Jia and other independent shuttlers will join Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) players from September 19 to 23 at the Bukit Kiara academy to prepare for the Games in Hangzhou, China.
The issue revolved around BAM's ruling that prohibited players from wearing apparel from direct rivals of the national body's sponsor, Yonex. This had led to Zii Jia and his coach, Wong Tat Meng, raising concerns before the World Championships in Copenhagen.
To address this matter, BAM will provide all players, including Zii Jia, with training attire that does not bear any brands or logos, thus avoiding sponsorship conflicts. Zii Jia had requested to attend the training a few days later, and his presence is considered crucial for Malaysia's team event at the Asian Games.
Despite facing challenges in individual tournaments on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) tour, Zii Jia has a strong track record in team events, as demonstrated during the Sudirman Cup in May and the Asian Mixed Team Championships in February. His experience and mental strength make him a valuable asset to Malaysia's quest for medals in Hangzhou.
BAM also has other promising players like Ng Tze Yong, who could serve as the second singles, and options for the third singles in Leong Jun Hao or Cheam June Wei. In the doubles department, the team looks more settled with reliable pairs such as Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, independent duo Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, and Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun.
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