Zii Jia won't join national team for Thomas Cup training

KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Zii Jia's professional team, Team LZJ, on Tuesday confirmed the former All England champion will not join the national squad's centralised training for the Thomas Cup in Chengdu, China.

The one-week training camp will commence at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) on Wednesday (April 17).

In a statement issued on social media, Team LZJ, said: "After reaching Malaysia on Sunday (April 14) from the recently concluded Asian Championships, Zii Jia has started his preparations for the upcoming Thomas Cup campaign on Monday.

"The training programme and arrangements planned by Team LZJ's director of coaching Wong Tat Meng will prepare Zii Jia to perform to the best of his abilities during the Thomas Cup and also sustain it during the upcoming five planned tournament participations after it.

"This training programme, independent from the Thomas Cup team, has been discussed with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and is supported by BAM's director of coaching, Rexy Mainaky and head of administration Michelle Chai.

"We thank BAM and Michelle for the understanding and the trust in us to manage the training plan in this hectic tournament schedule leading up to the Paris Olympics.

"Zii Jia is very much looking forward to link up with the squad on April 24."

When asked to comment on the matter, Rexy said: "Yes, I was briefed on this arrangement when I first met Tat Meng and Lee Zii Yii (Team LZJ manager).

"They had informed me that they only had one week to prepare since they got back from the BAC, so we have to work our way around this.

"On my part, I have informed them during the BAC about my plans for the training programme and what I intend to do with the rest of the players.

"We understand that this year the Thomas Cup is in the same year as the Olympics, so we have to give and take, and make the best out of it."

When asked if there were any plans to take the players outstation for a team building exercise, Rexy said: "It would make sense to have a team building exercise if we can get the full squad. If we don't have one or two players with us, perhaps it is not the best idea."

For the Thomas Cup, Malaysia are in Group D with European champions Denmark, Hong Kong and Algeria.

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