KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s top men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia has revealed plans to train in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the near future.
However, the world number seven only wants to focus on forming his own team, which he expects to complete ahead of next month’s German Open, before training in the UAE.
“It’s like I said, my priority is to settle the team first, yes, I will go there (Dubai),” he told reporters after a training session at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara today.
If Zii Jia trains in Dubai, he will be following in the footsteps of Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, who have made UAE their current training base.
Zii Jia, who is the 2021 All-England champion, at the same time informed that four leading badminton equipment companies have ‘put in proposals’ to be his sponsors but all are still in the negotiation stage.
“I will announce my sponsor later. I am also still in negotiations to get a new coach, all private and confidential, once confirmed, I will inform,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zii Jia admitted that he faced challenges after choosing to go his own way as an independent instead of playing under the auspices of the Badminton Association of Malaysian.
The Kedah-born player, however, was grateful that his family members, especially his sister Lee Zii Yii, have been lending him support since he turned professional recently.
“It’s a big challenge because I have to arrange everything on my own but I really appreciate the help of my sister and family, so now I just need to focus on training and produce results,” he added.
Meanwhile, Zii Jia, who has yet to hit peak form ahead of the Asian Team Badminton Championships (BATC) in Shah Alam on Feb 15-20, stated that he is currently training with two other professional shuttlers – Liew Daren and Soong Joo Ven.
He also said that, for now, he was more comfortable seeking treatment outside the National Sports Institute (NSI), although he did not rule out the possibility of returning to use NSI facilities in the future.