Lee Zii Jia Declines RTG Assistance

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Lee Zii Jia opts out of RTG program. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Lee Zii Jia opts out of RTG program. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Kuala Lumpur: In a significant development, Malaysia’s world No. 11 Lee Zii Jia has opted not to sign the Road to Gold (RTG) agreement, effectively declining the program’s assistance. This decision was confirmed by Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh after a meeting between Team Lee Zii Jia and RTG Committee Coordinator.

Yeoh emphasized that RTG is a voluntary program designed to provide additional support for athletes aspiring to achieve Olympic gold in Paris 2024. She clarified that the ministry cannot compel athletes to participate in the program, respecting their individual preferences and existing training arrangements.

“RTG is a facility we created to help provide additional services for athletes going to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” Yeoh stated. “We also stated that RTG is a platform that we want to eliminate all previous bureaucracy. However, I cannot force athletes who do not want to accept or they have other facilities that they have access to. That is up to each athlete and for that reason, we prepare a basic contract for athletes.”

Lee’s decision to decline RTG assistance suggests that he prefers to continue with his current training regimen and support structure. This choice aligns with the autonomy granted to athletes in determining their training approaches.

Despite Lee’s decision, the RTG program remains committed to supporting other potential Olympic medalists. Currently, 15 athletes have been selected for the program, including cycling champions Azizulhasni Awang and Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom, diving pairs Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri, weightlifter Mohd Aniq Kasdan, and badminton players Ng Tze Yong, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, Onh Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi, Pearly Tan/M. Thinaah, and Chen Tang Jie/Toh Ee Wei.

Lee’s decision to chart his own course highlights the importance of athlete autonomy and the value of individualized training approaches. While the RTG program offers valuable support, athletes should have the freedom to choose what works best for them in their pursuit of excellence.

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