KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Home sports fans will have to forget about seeing the country’s professional men’s singles badminton champion Lee Zii Jia in action at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after he withdrew from the Games in Birmingham, England, scheduled for July 28 to Aug 8.

Zii Jia admits to difficulty coping with the tight schedule he has been facing lately, besides wanting to focus fully on the World Badminton Championships in Tokyo, Japan, from Aug 22-28, this being the main reason he has decided not to make an appearance at the Commonwealth Games this time.

“This is a difficult decision to make because I have played so many back-to-back tournaments and I think my body condition lacks rest and (so) I have to choose between Commonwealth and the World Championships.

“I have already spoken to my team members as well and we came out with a decision to focus more on World Championships instead,” he said in a video shared with the media yesterday.

The 2022 Asian Badminton Championship men’s singles champion duly thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports, including its minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, the National Sports Council and the Badminton Association of Malaysian and its president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria for their support.

Despite not appearing at Birmingham, Zii Jia still promised to give his best at two badminton tournaments at home, namely the Malaysian Open from June 28 to July 3, followed by the Malaysian Masters from July 5-10.

The world’s fifth-best player will open the curtains of the Malaysian Open campaign against Frenchman Toma Junior Popov while one of the players from the qualifying stage awaits him in the first round of the Malaysian Masters. — Bernama