PETALING JAYA: Lee Zii Jia’s stunning victory at the All-England saw a host of Malaysian fans taking to social media to heap praises on the national No. 1 with many labelling him as THE “next Lee Chong Wei”.
While it’s certainly a great honour to be compared to the legendary 38-year-old, Zii Jia reiterated that he merely wanted to be himself.
“This will be a good start for the next chapter. I won’t forget all the setbacks (I’ve been through) and efforts (that) I made (to reach) this far. Thank you once again everyone, ” wrote Zii Jia on his Facebook page.
“The All-England 2021 has ended, I’m still Lee Zii Jia and I only want to be, Lee Zii Jia.”
Zii Jia said he was still feeling so strange after pulling off an epic 30-29,20-22,21-9 win over defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark on Sunday. It was made more special by the fact that it was Zii Jia’s only second appearance at the Arena Birmingham following a superb semi-final run last year, where he was beaten by Axelsen.
“It’s a very special moment to remember. Thousand thoughts and feelings came into my mind and no words can describe my feelings, ” he said.
“I would like to share this honour with my family, coaches, supporting team, teammates and the whole BAM management team.
“Sorry that I can’t mention every one of you, but you know who you are. I can’t step this far without all your hard work and efforts, thank you.
“Thanks to all my fans around the world. I know everyone was cheering so loud in front of the TV, I could feel and hear all of them!
“We made this together, so this title belongs to all of us, we’re the champions!”
Buoyed by his maiden All-England crown, Zii Jia will be looking to build on the success by taking aim at the Tokyo Olympics, in July, and World Championships in Huelva, in December.
It’s now up to Zii Jia to take advantage of the rare opportunity of winning glory in both the major meets which are held together in the same year for the first time.
After conquering the All-England for the first time at 22, five years earlier than Chong Wei when the latter won in 2010, Zii Jia has a chance to outdo Chong Wei in two more feats.
Chong Wei did not win the first of his three Olympic silver medals until he was 26 at Beijing 2008 and won the first of his three World Championships silver medals at 29 at London 2011.