Kuala Lumpur: After the Malaysia Badminton Association (BAM) announced a 2-year ban for World No. 7 men’s singles player – Lee Zii Jia, and the two-time World Junior winner Goh Jin Wei, the outpouring of support for these two young Malaysian badminton stars didn’t take long to come.
Several prominent current and ex-players took to social media to express their thoughts.
World No. 1 men’s singles player and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist – Viktor Axelsen expressed his undying support Friday afternoon before BAM made the official announcement about the decision to ban Lee and Goh.
“Imagine yourself being in a position where you don’t feel happy in your current workplace and you want something to change. You go express your thoughts to your boss and tell her/him you want to quit and find another place to work.
However your boss is not happy about your decision and since they the power to ban you from applying to jobs in your field, they might go ahead and do so. You just have to wait and see.
Just listen how crazy this is. This is year 2022. Is this what we want for our sport?”
The World No. 3 player – Anders Antonsen was questioning the rationale of substantial power given by the Badminton World Federation to its members, such as BAM.
“I’m here for @leeziijia and @jinweigoh. The badminton federations are possessing too much power and the @bwf.official seems either incapable or not willing to make any changes for the better… It’s hurtful. Time for changes👊”
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Another top men’s singles player from Denmark – World No. 22 Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus wasn’t sure if such harsh punishment was necessary for these two players who didn’t commit any crime.
Australia’s Gronya Somerville also voiced her unhappiness on how BWF is still applying outdated rules in running the sport.
“It is crazy still that BWF won’t allow players to enter tournaments themselves, meaning players have to get their national association to approve their entry into tournaments. Many federations will simply not allow a player to enter tournaments if they are “not in good standing” and don’t do as they are told by the association. Hoping one day badminton will be more like tennis with players being independent and able to have control over their own career.”
Other players such as former men’s doubles World No. 1 Koo Kien Keat also displayed some true brotherhood by reaching out to Lee Zii Jia with the following Instagram story.
(source: Koo Kien Keat’s Instagram)
Denmark’s women’s singles former World No. 1 Camilla Martin also extended some words of support.
A few more words 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/HKz8gt8ehz
— Camilla Martin (@CamillaMartin99) January 21, 2022
In summary, all these players suggested if BWF would like to move the sport forward and to popularize the sport of badminton, they should decentralize the power and allow the independent players to register for tournaments by themselves directly instead of going through the badminton association of each country. Those players should also be allowed to find their own sponsors just like tennis. But, do you think BWF is listening to the voices from these players?