KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — The country’s professional men’s singles shuttler, Lee Zii Jia’s inclusion in the Thomas Cup squad has come with a cost, as the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has to pay ‘image rights’ for the player.

TeamLZJ, in a statement today, confirmed the matter, saying that ‘image rights’ is an important aspect for a professional athlete.

“We value the importance of image rights that is essential for the livelihood of a professional athlete independent from the association. We are very glad that BAM recognises this and is supportive of the existence of professional athletes.


“It is our hope that we can all see this as a betterment of the sport not only for us but for future professional athletes that represent the country in the future,” the team statement read.

Team LZJ also said that world number 11 Zii Jia’s desire to represent Malaysia in the Thomas Cup, scheduled from April 27 to May 5 in Chengdu, China was never in question.

Based on earlier media reports, BAM head of administration Michelle Chai said the announcement of Thomas and Uber Cup squads was delayed due to discussions with Zii Jia’s side on the ‘compensation’ to play for the national team.


The national team is sponsored by Japanese sports equipment manufacturer, Yonex, while Zii Jia, who left BAM in a controversial manner in January 2022, is under contract with Taiwanese brand, Victor.

In the Thomas Cup squad announced by BAM this morning, apart from Zii Jia, the team also consists of world number 18 Ng Tze Yong, Leong Jun Hao, Cheam June Wei and Justin Hoh for the singles, while the doubles will be spearheaded by 2022 world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, followed by Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and Muhammad Haikal Nazri.

Malaysia, who are seeded fifth for the Thomas Cup, have been drawn in Group D, along with European giants and 2016 Thomas Cup champions Denmark, Hong Kong and Algeria.

Meanwhile, 2022 champion Zii Jia crashed out of the 2024 Badminton Asia Championship after a demoralising 11-21, 6-21 defeat against Indonesian Jonatan Christie in the quarter-finals at Ninbo, China, today. — Bernama