IPOH, June 25 ― The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) is disappointed with the decision of national men's badminton singles champion Lee Zii Jia to withdraw from playing in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 8.
Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said, however, KBS respected Zii Jia's decision to focus on preparations for the World Championships in Tokyo in August.
“I am also disappointed with Zii Jia's withdrawal from representing Malaysia at the Commonwealth Games.
“I have spoken to him personally and he apologised because he really wanted to represent the country (at the Commonwealth Games) but his schedule is so tight that he had to make a difficult decision.
“He feels so sorry for not being able to represent Malaysia to bring him home the gold medal,” he told reporters after officiating Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Raja Perempuan's Sports Day here today.
On Wednesday, the world number five dropped a bombshell that he was withdrawing from Commonwealth Games due to his tight schedule and wanting to focus fully on the Badminton World Championships.
The withdrawal by the Asian champion provides an opportunity for the country's rising star Ng Tze Yong to shoulder the task as the Commonwealth Games.
At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, four years ago, the national badminton squad brought home two gold, one silver and two bronze medals with the gold medals won by badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei and women's doubles pair Chow Mei Kuan-Vivian Hoo.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Faizal said KBS would collaborate with the Education Ministry to use school sports facilities to organise sports programmes like the Malaysia Sports League and Seribu Liga.
“I have contacted the Ministry of Education to open sports facilities in schools to be also used by the public,” he said, adding that this would help a cultivate sports culture so that the people would remain fit and active.
“I am grateful for the good cooperation given by the Ministry of Education and also schools across the country and hope this continues to be strengthened and improved,” he added. ― Bernama