The Malaysian won his first All England championship at the age of 23, beating defending champion Viktor Axelsen in the final.
They say that champions are cut from the same cloth, and when a sporting legend says the same about you, you know there is weight in those words. Malaysian badminton legend Datuk Misbun Sidek said that fellow countryman Lee Zii Jia has some similarities with former world number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei. Jia was recently crowned with the All England men’s badminton champion title at 23 years of age.
Sidek said that Jia not only possessed former world number one Wei’s charisma and capability, but also his personal traits in building a career to be the best in the world were also similar.
“If at this young age, he could smash his way to victory while coping with the tremendous pressure at major competitions, Zii Jia has more to offer and achieve, considering he had only played twice at the All England. Last year, he reached the quarter-finals and this year, he’s the champion,” Sidek, who is also the Malaysian national junior badminton squad’s technical director, said.
“He has the same characteristics and charisma (as Chong Wei’s) and the way he carries himself, it’s there,” he added.
Jia won his first All England championship last month to become a national badminton sensation. He beat several tough opponents including world number one Kento Momota (Japan) in the quarter-finals and defending champion Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) in the final.
“But now, the question is to shape him (Zii Jia) towards becoming a more competitive and stronger player from all aspects, meaning, physically, technically, tactically, mentally, and sensorially,” Sidek said.
The Malaysian legend also added that Jia needed to improve on his physical fitness to become a more stable player to compete in the competitions at the highest level.