Lee Chong Wei Voices His Thoughts on the Wong Tat Meng/Lee Zii Jia vs. BAM Conflict

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Lee Chong Wei shares his opinion on Wong Tat Meng/Lee Zii Jia vs. BAM. (photo: Bernama)
Lee Chong Wei shares his opinion on Wong Tat Meng/Lee Zii Jia vs. BAM. (photo: Bernama)

Kuala Lumpur: In the world of badminton, Lee Chong Wei is a prominent figure whose words carry astronomical weight. When he speaks, everybody listens.

On Thursday, Lee Chong Wei expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation involving Lee Zii Jia’s team, including coach Wong Tat Meng, who accused the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) of mistreating professional players. Additionally, Lee was unpleased with the actions of those who sought to escalate the matter surrounding BAM’s regulations, which require professional players to exclusively wear sportswear from brands endorsed by the organization if they wish to train at the Akademy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

Lee highlighted that BAM had already communicated this policy to all professional players. He clarified that players are permitted to use shoes and rackets from their respective sponsors, with the restriction solely concerning sportswear.

“I believe BAM’s rules for professional players are reasonable, given the commitment to their sponsors. Why does Zii Jia’s team choose to magnify an issue that other professional players like Ong Yew Sin, Teo Ee Yi, and their coach Rosman Razak have no trouble with?” Lee stated.

“Zii Jia appears to intentionally want to stir up unnecessary controversy. He should demonstrate more maturity in addressing such matters responsibly,” Lee continued.

Lee Chong Wei suggested that if Lee Zii Jia finds the BAM regulations unsatisfactory or discomforting, he has the option not to participate in training at ABM.

Setting aside the ongoing conflicts, it is evident that BAM faces substantial management challenges, known to most badminton enthusiasts in Malaysia, except perhaps the BAM management itself. The performance records since Lee Chong Wei’s retirement are a testament. Even Taiwan has secured an Olympic gold medal, and India currently boasts two men’s singles players ranked within the world’s top 11 (Lakshya Sen – World No. 11, HS Prannoy – World No. 9), while Malaysia’s highest-ranking players are Lee Zii Jia (World No. 13) and Ng Tze Yong (World No. 22). Reflecting on a recent incident a few weeks ago, the removal of Misbun Sidek – a well-known, well-respected and well-loved coach in the sport. Following Sidek’s press conference, BAM organized a counter-press conference, reversing their decision and inviting Sidek back to coach the Malaysian youth team. Of course, Sidek declined the offer.

Despite the clamor from many Malaysian badminton fans or even ex-BAM player for the resignation of certain top BAM management figures due to disappointing results, these individuals have persisted in their roles for years. They continue to shape hiring and firing decisions with an outdated mindset of how to run a successful sports organization.

In conclusion, social media provides a platform for all perspectives to be voiced. While outsiders cannot ascertain the specific sponsor requirements of BAM and Lee Zii Jia; BAM, as Malaysia’s highest badminton authority, should exercise wisdom in turning this controversy into a positive narrative. Overall, we are all one big Malaysian family. As Wong Tat Meng asserted, these players are competing internationally for Malaysia’s glory.

Let’s find a win-win solution and let’s enjoy the video below as a family:

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