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SEPANG, March 23 -- National badminton hero, Lee Zii Jia returned to Malaysia this afternoon, after emerging as the All England Open Badminton men’s singles champion.
He was on a Turkish Airlines flight and landed around 4.45 pm at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), along with the rest of the national squad.
After going through Customs and Immigration checks, Zii Jia, women’s doubles pair, Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah, who won the Swiss Open, and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical coaching director, Wong Choong Hann exited the arrival hall around 6 pm.
The national squad then spent a few minutes with the media for a photography session while complying with physical distancing and after their baggage were sanitised, boarded a bus to the quarantine centre. No interview session was held.
The 2019 SEA Games gold medallist will undergo mandatory quarantine for seven days at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur according to the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government for all individuals returning from abroad and under the watch of the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA).
National Sports Council (NSC) director-general, Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail and BAM secretary-general, Datuk Kenny Goh were among those who welcomed the national squad at the airport.
Zii Jia won the All England championship after defeating defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 30-29, 20-22, 21-9, at Utilita Arena Birmingham last Sunday.
After losing to the same player in last year’s semi-finals, Zii Jia was determined to win, having defeated world number one and Olympic gold medal hopeful Kento Momota, 21-16, 21-19 in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, NADMA’s KLIA quarantine operations commander, Abdul Manaf Che Isa said the national squad only had to undergo seven days of quarantine as they had taken a swab test abroad before coming home.