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National junior shuttler Lee Zii Jia has made the nation proud by clinching his first international junior title at the Yonex Dutch Junior Open 2016. Zii Jia did not experince a tough match against French player, Arnaud Merkle 21/12, 21/12 in the finals. However, he was stretched to the limit in his semi-finals match against teammate, Leong Jun Hau prevailing 14/21, 21/17, 23/21 in a thrilling match that lasted for an hour.

The 18 year-old Zii Jia who is currently training under Indonesian coach, Indra Widjaja was also tested in terms of his fitness level as he overcame six matches before reaching the finals. He was also in top form to upset top seed, Toma Junior Popov of France in the fourth round.

According to team manager, Kwan Yoke Meng, although Zii Jia was the favorite to win, the 16 year-old Arnaud did perform well to reach the finals as he defeated second seed, Lee Chi Hao of Chinese Taipei, 21/8, 21/16 in the semi-finals.

As for the delighted Zii Jia, he is still in disbelief that he has won the junior title this being his first appearance and will also be his last as the Kedah born player will be 19 next year.

I am really happy to win here and I want to thank my coach, Indra who advised me to not put too much pressure on myself and he also told me that I should not have any fear to lose as long as I give my best and play well. It worked and I am hoping to continue performing in the Yonex German Junior beginning on Tuesday,” said Zii Jia from a phone conversation.

Zii Jia also mentioned as he is currently under probation with Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), he hopes with his win today and a good show next week, he will be roped into the back-up squad.

Apart from Zii Jia, womens’ singles M. Thinaah and Leong Jun Hau did well to reach the semifinals. The team will leave to Germany tomorrow morning to compete at the German Juniors.