Lee Zii Jia: Another ‘Lee’ to lead Malaysian Badminton


Lee Zii Jia: Another ‘Lee’ to lead Malaysian Badminton

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PC – BWF

Lee Chong Wei is one of the finest players Malaysia has ever produced. After a prolonged absence from the circuit first due to an injury a ban due to doping and then due to nose cancer, the legend retired in June 2019.

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Speculations were rife in Malaysia whether the country has or can produce another athlete of such finesse.

BAM can now surely say that they have a prospect in the 22 year old Lee Zii Jia. He is one of the prominent faces of young elite shuttlers. Born in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian was introduced to badminton at the age of 5 by his parents. His outstanding performance at Perak and Selangor Badminton Open in 2015 earned him a place at the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).

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In the 2016 BWF World Junior Championships, Spain he won the bronze medal. He also made his debut to the senior international circuit in the same year.

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2019 saw the young lad breaking into top 30 of world ranking and truly test waters of the circuit and improvise and adapt to the extreme demand of being amongst the best athletes. The performance in the year seems to have been erratic in terms of progress in the draws but it is interesting to note that he has put up fights against the likes of Kento Momota, Viktor Axelsen, and Chou Tien Chen.

PC – BWF

In August 2019 he started training under coach Hendrawan. His experience as a junior world champion is of great value to him. Having participated in about 20 tournaments last year Zii Jia has had little time to focus on new skills and build in new techniques and strategies into his armoury. The guidance of coach Hendrawan however has proved to be of great help to the young lad. In singles both attack and defence are important to be a top player.

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His performance at the All England Championship this year has truly been a highlight of his career so far. He beat the likes of Chen Long, Jonatan Christie before losing to Viktor Axelsen in the semi final in a thrilling three set encounter lasting an hour and thirteen minutes. In the Badminton Asia Championships held in Philippines he won both of his matches for his country.

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PC – BWF

He put up a great performance in the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2020 beating Anders Antonsen in the very first round, Sameer Verma and Shi Yu Qi, all in neck to neck situations with matches going the full length before Kento Momota, the numero uno brought down his dreams of winning the title on his home ground.

Zii Jia’s performance in 2020 has been very consistent, until the world tour was disrupted due to COVID19 outbreak. Lee’s performance at the All England Open raised his world ranking to number 10 on 17 March 2020.

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Lee Zii Jia respects the Malaysian Legend Lee Chong Wei. He says, “I went to look for him after he retired and he gave me a lot of advice, one of which was to always rely on myself. Coaches and the people around me can only help me 10 per cent to 20 per cent. I must rely on myself for the remaining 80 per cent. We are singles players, so we are alone on court. If you can’t handle the stress, fear and anxiety, then you’ll surely lose. The only solution is to overcome these problems on my own.”

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With the right attitude, good coach and the consistent progress Lee Zii Jia is making, he will be a strong contender to book a place at Tokyo Olympics. As the Olympics has been postponed, he will have some time to hone his skill, develop as a complete player and train his mind to take off mental pressure of winning a medal at Tokyo next year, but he surely has the potential to be an Olympic medalist.

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