SUBANG JAYA: National singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia is no longer under the Road to Gold (RTG) programme as he is sticking to his decision not to sign the letter of commitment.
In a statement, the RTG committee said the decision was relayed by the 25-year-old Zii Jia’s team via an online meeting.
At the meeting, Zii Jia, who was represented by his coaches Wong Tat Meng and Liew Daren as well as manager Lee Zii Yi, explained the reason behind the shuttler’s stance, adding that he no longer required help to realise his medal hopes at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
However, Zii Jia’s team gave an assurance that they will continue to work closely with all parties for the sake of the sport, including the youth and sports ministry, Olympic Council of Malaysia, National Sports Council and National Sports Institute.
In October, youth and sports minister Hannah Yeoh said the world number 11 was the only athlete yet to sign the letter of commitment and that he had been given 14 days to do so, with today being the last day.
Meanwhile, Yeoh said they would not force any athlete to join the RTG programme.
“The RTG is a facility we created to help provide additional support for athletes bound for the 2024 Paris Olympics. We also stated that RTG is a platform for us to do away with all the previous bureaucracy.
“However, I cannot force an athlete who doesn’t want to accept or who has access to other facilities.
“That is up to them and, because of that, we have prepared a basic contract for the athletes.
“I believe it is up to the athletes themselves to decide whether or not they want or need additional support from RTG,” Yeoh, who is the RTG committee co-chairman, said when met after the launch of the 2023 Asean Women in Sports Conference today.