Zii Jia: BAM chief has given his blessings

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National shuttler Lee Zii Jia and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) look to be a step closer to resolving the issue over his resignation from the body after a “heart-to-heart” meeting today.

In an Instagram post today, Zii Jia said he was pleased to have met with Norza Zakaria at a private meeting in which his parents and sister Zii Yii were also present.

“I am happy that we are now resolving this issue with BAM after receiving Tan Sri (Norza)’s blessings to become a professional player.

“At the moment, I will commit myself to the Asia Team Championships. I hope this conclusion unites us as Malaysians and badminton fans,” the national No 1 said.

“Please continue to support BAM and also the country’s professional players who are also nurtured by BAM because at the end of the day we are one.”

Last week, BAM had announced that Zii Jia was banned from taking part in international tournaments under the Malaysian flag for two years effective Jan 18 after his resignation from BAM.

Zii Jia is currently ranked No 7 in the world by the Badminton World Federation.

In his Instagram post, Lee attributed all his successes to Norza’s nurturing and expressed gratitude.

At the time of writing, it is uncertain if this meant that BAM has officially rescinded its decision to not register Lee in international tournaments for two years.

Both BAM and Zii Jia have refused to elaborate on the meeting details, as the decision is still pending the BAM Council’s approval and will only be unveiled next week.

But all signs are pointing to Zii Jia being released to play independently on various conditions.

Zii Jia appeared to be satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.

“I came here for an update over my appeal from Datuk Seri (Jaharbedeen) and we’ve got a very positive conclusion which BAM will be announcing next week,” he said.

Yesterday, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he was positive that a good outcome will be reached after meeting Zii Jia and Jin Wei in a closed-door meeting.

“I met our national champion and heard his ordeal,” said Faizal.

“He will meet the BAM leadership today and I hope both parties will be able to unravel this issue.

“It’s my wish to see Zii Jia train again after the Chinese New Year celebration. We want to see a good decision come out of the meeting for the good of the sport,” he added.

Meanwhile, the BAM had also softened its stance after announcing that they had received an official appeal letter from Zii Jia yesterday.

“Recent events concerning Zii Jia’s resignation from the BAM and the subsequent decision by the council to not register him for international tournaments for two years, has had a profound impact not only on the badminton fraternity but on the people of Malaysia as well,” said BAM in a statement.

“We are fully aware of the outpouring anger and frustration, and we truly understand the disappointment expressed towards the association.

“This situation has been extremely challenging and has garnered attention from all parties, from politicians to international players.

“We appreciate all the comments, criticisms, and overall feedback directed towards us. We will take note of the passionate sentiments expressed by our fellow Malaysians.”

They said they made the decision based on official procedures.

Earlier reports:

Jan 24, Zii Jia appeals to BAM against two-year ban

Jan 24, Online petition launched to reverse ban on Zii Jia, Jin Wei

Jan 21, Netizens vent anger over Zii Jia’s 2-year ban

Jan 19, Zii Jia quits BAM, turns pro