7 Things to know about Malaysian Olympic badminton player Lee Zii Jia


By Natalie Khoo

7 Things to know about Malaysian Olympic badminton player Lee Zii Jia

Lee Zii Jia’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games may have ended last night, but the journey is far from over for the Malaysian men’s singles shuttler.

The 23-year-old badminton hope lost to China’s Chen Long in a rubber set match (21-8, 19-21, 5-21) in the Last-16 round, after winning his first two matches against Ukrainian Artem Pochtarov and French Brice Leverdez in straight sets during the group stage.

He took to Instagram today to share a heartfelt statement: “My first Olympic ended in [the] Last-16, but [the] journey still goes on. [I was] hoping to give some motivation to all Malaysians and fans especially during this pandemic.”

“I’m sad that I can’t carry the Malaysian pride and flag till the end,” he added, “[but I am] really touched and appreciate all the support and encouragement from everyone. And I’m always thankful that I have all of you, willing to listen to my thoughts and feelings. It means a lot to me.”

While we look forward to cheering Lee on at the next leg of his badminton career, here are seven things to know about the young world no. 8 shuttler.


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A post shared by Lee Zii Jia 李梓嘉 (@leeziijia)

He comes from a family of athletes

Lee was born on 29 March 1998 in Alor Setar, Kedah to Lee Chee Hin and Leow Siet Peng, both teachers and former national basketball players. His mother represented the country in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore, while his father was the best national player at the age of 16.

With his athletic genes and towering height of 1.86 metres, he could very well have followed in his parents’ footsteps, but chose otherwise. “I seemed to excel in badminton more than basketball, and I went in that direction,” he divulged.

He started playing badminton at the age of six


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A post shared by Lee Zii Jia 李梓嘉 (@leeziijia)

He first picked up the racquet at six years old, when his father brought him to a badminton club in Kedah. “I started playing just for health reasons before improving better and better,” states his BWF profile.

After excelling at the sport in under-12 competitions, he was drafted into the Bukit Jalil Sports School. By the time he was 19, he had won his first international title at the Victor Polish International 2017 championship.

He doesn’t want to be compared with Datuk Lee Chong Wei

It’s understandable that he is often compared to former Malaysian badminton hero Datuk Lee Chong Wei, but the younger Lee prefers to focus on what he can bring to the court.

“At first, I think I couldn’t handle it well because suddenly [after Chong Wei’s retirement] there was so much pressure and so much hope on me because everyone was starting to [talk] about me and Datuk Lee Chong Wei,” he told Olympic Channel.

“So when I lose, then people blame me. ‘Why I can’t be like Lee Chong Wei, you know, always winning. Lee Chong Wei always wins.’ From there, I start to feel like there’s so much pressure on me,” he added.

“So what I told myself is ‘I don’t want to become Lee Chong Wei. I just want to be who I am.” — Lee Zii Jia

He won the All-England five years before his senior


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