KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Chong Wei is extremely saddened by the news of Lee Zii Jia's resignation from the national badminton squad.
When contacted by Timesport today, former world No 1 Chong Wei said All England champion Zii Jia had met him on the afternoon of Jan 11 to seek his advice, before handing over his resignation letter to BAM.
"I told Zii Jia that I cannot take sides. My only advice to him was to think carefully before making a decision because this involves his future.
"As a former player who spent two decades with the national side, I dare say that nobody is perfect.
"The association can never be perfect, but even I wasn't. Surely, there were issues and misunderstandings throughout my time with the national team, but I realised that everything can be solved with proper discussion.
"Today I woke up to sad news in the media. It pains me to see the state of Malaysian badminton. How did it get here?
"Today, I am the person I am because of BAM... and that is what I tell the younger players. Don't compare yourselves to foreigners, our culture is different.
"At BAM, you have the best support service, state of the art facilities and quality training programme and sparring partners. It's not so easy outside," lamented Chong Wei, 40, who hung up his racquet in 2019 after battling nose cancer.
Yesterday, BAM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria confirmed that Zii Jia, 23 had tendered his resignation to pursue his career as a professional. According to Norza, one of the reasons given by the Kedah-born born was the immense pressure he was under and the expectations he had to live up to.
Chong Wei said: "Yes, Zii Jia did mention to me that he felt pressured when people compared him to me. Of course, Zii Jia is not me but I told him that pressure is something that will always be there. If you want to be the world's best, there will be pressure.
"At the end of the day, nobody can make this decision for Zii Jia but himself. What BAM decide to do, we have to wait and see," added Chong Wei.