Time to set aside their differences

KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Zii Jia's run to the All England semi-finals last week is commendable. Yet, there's a lingering feeling among Malaysian fans that it should have been more.

After all, this is a player who came, who saw and who conquered the All-England two years ago.

True, Zii Jia snapped a demoralising run of six dismal outings in reaching the All England last four, but there's still the thought that he could have dealt better with Shi Yu Qi had he been equipped with all the expertise available in Malaysia.

In all honesty, one semi-final outing at the All England does not mean that the worst is behind him although Zii Jia revealed that he was able to regain his self-belief and that last week's exploit was not due to luck.

He forsook that when he decided to leave BAM last year and go "solo". True, he does have his own team, but he doesn't have a "real coach".

If Zii Jia's recent tournament records are anything to go by, there is still a tendency for him to fall from grace again after one or a couple of good results.

Egos need to be put aside. Zii Jia needs all the help and backing he can get, including from the Youth and Sports Ministry and BA of Malaysia whom he has forsaken last year.

After his controversial split from Indonesian coach Indra Wijaya late last year, Zii Jia is only assisted by Liew Daren, who acts as a coach and sparring partner. But that is certainly not enough, clearly Zii Jia needs an influential mentor who can provide much more than that.

The other personnel in Team LZJ are his elder sister Lee Zii Yii, who acts as his manager, physiotherapist Sandra Fiedler and physical trainer Lim Joe Heang. But the results speak for themselves. This doesn't seem to work.

Zii Jia can consider this option where he doesn't even have to crack his head in looking for a coach - rejoin BAM where the coaches are.

That could very well be the case. Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said that it is almost certain that Zii Jia will be part of the recently launched Road to Gold athletes' preparation programme, which is aimed at ending the nation's wait for a first gold medal in Paris 2024.

So, after parting ways on bad terms, both BAM and Zii Jia must drop their egos and come up with a compromise to work together for the sake of Malaysian badminton.

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