JITRA, March 22 — Fresh from his All England triumph, Lee Zii Jia has received sound advice from his father - work harder to win many more championships in the future.
Lee Chee Hin, 54, said his 22-year-old son’s career had just begun, and he hoped that he would not be content after being crowned champion of the world’s oldest badminton tournament.
“My family and I were at the edge of our seats watching the final on television last night as he had to endure a tough challenge against his rival. After winning the first game, he lost the second.
“But we were relieved when he regained his focus and snatched victory in the third game. Despite facing so many challenges in the past few months, he still managed to put on such a great performance,” he told reporters at his house in Darul Aman Heights here today.
Zii Jia ended Malaysia’s four-year wait for the men’s singles crown by defeating defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 30-29, 20-22, 21-9 in the final at the Utilia Arena in Birmingham.
Zii Jia’s mother Leow Siet Peng, 53, said her son had been under tremendous pressure especially after his performance against some players was questioned on social media previously.
“He had to face uncertainty as soon as the international calendar began in Bangkok early this year. He became more stressed after seeing five of his seniors dropped by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in February.
“He also felt guilty about his lacklustre performance at that time and became withdrawn. He talked less to the family and would only communicate through messages,” she said.
Siet Peng, who represented Malaysia in basketball in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore, said the entire family was worried about Zii Jia’s situation before the All England.
“After receiving the cup and medal, he managed to have a video call with the entire family to share his victory. He asked us to look at the cup as much we wanted because he could not bring it home as it was to be kept in England,” she said. — Bernama