Lee Zii Jia has made Malaysia proud after emerging as champion in the All England finals yesterday (21 March) against world number two, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
The final match, which took place at Utilita Arena Birmingham, saw a dramatic battle between the two players as Malaysians were kept on the edge of their seats in the deciding set, reported NST.
Despite losing to Axelsen in the semi-finals of last year’s All England, Lee Zii Jia took home the crown with a 30-29, 20-22, 21-9 win, making him the sixth Malaysian to have achieved the feat after Malaysia’s four-year wait since the last time Datuk Lee Chong Wei did it in 2017.
The 23-year-old shuttler from Kedah is now among the likes of Wong Peng Soon, Eddie Choong, Tan Aik Huang, Hafiz Hashim and Chong Wei to win the All England title. He redeemed himself last night (21 March) after his disappointing defeat in the Asian leg of the World Tour in Bangkok where he was crushed 15-21,4-21 by Axelsen in the World Tour Finals in January, reported The Star.
But nothing was going to stop Lee Zii Jia last night as he owned the game and took home a cash prize of US$59,500 (RM 244,344).
Pemain perseorangan lelaki negara, Lee Zii Jia dinobatkan juara All England selepas menewaskan pemain nombor 2 dunia dari Denmark, Viktor Axelsen, 30-29, 20-22, 21-9. pic.twitter.com/IEWrjATaHZ
— Berita Harian (@bharianmy) March 21, 2021
Axelsen praised Lee Zii Jia “rightful winner” of the title.
“It was a crazy match, really close. The first game was pretty crucial I think, I used a lot of energy and should probably have won if I wanted to take the title today,” he said.
“I think Lee Zii Jia played well in the crucial points today, and I was a little too sloppy at times.”
“Unfortunately I’ve spent quite a bit of energy this week playing long matches, and it took its toll a little bit. I think Lee was the rightful winner today so I want to congratulate him.”
Former world number one, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, also congratulated Zii Jia on his social media platforms last night.
“Congratulations, Lee Zii Jia! The new All England Champ! Awesome performance and looks like you have found your pace! Keep up the good work!”
Several Malaysian figured also commended Zii Jia for his achievement.
“Congratulations, Lee Zi Jia! What a sublime performance. And a huge statement of intent about the future,” Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin said.
“Woohoo!!! Huge congratulations Lee Zii Jia on an incredible win and fight out there today! Super proud of you! #prideofmalaysia,” Datuk Nicol David said.
Congrats, Lee Zii Jia! You have certainly made Malaysia proud!
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