NATIONAL No. 1 shuttler Lee Zii Jia may not have achieved anything big yet but he is fast becoming one of the most marketable athletes in the country.
Yesterday, Zii Jia landed himself a major sponsorship deal by becoming the brand ambassador for isotonic drink makers 100Plus.
The lucrative two-year deal is believed to be in six figures.
He became the third Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) shuttler to join the 100Plus after former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and two-time world junior champion Goh Jin Wei.
There was also more joy for Zii Jia as his sponsor rewarded him with RM10,000 cash incentive for his SEA Games gold-medal victory last month in the Philippines.
The world No. 14 Zii Jia said he did not expect to be recognised at an early age.
His predecessor Chong Wei was already a world No. 1 and had won the first of this three silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he first signed for 100Plus in 2009.
“I didn’t see this coming at just 21. This is an honour, ” said Zii Jia.
“I thank BAM and 100Plus for their support. Now, I’ve to work even harder to get good results. I don’t want to let them down.”
It’s the second endorsement deal for Zii Jia. His first was with Carput, a car battery delivery company.
Besides winning more accolades, Zii Jia has also vowed to emulate Chong Wei in keeping the partnership with his sponsor for the longest time.
Chong Wei has been the face of the brand for the 12th straight year, having last extended the deal for another two years in December 2018.
“I certainly hope this contract will go beyond two years. It’s amazing how Chong Wei has remained so long with this sponsor, I hope to do the same, ” said Zii Jia.
The deal could not have come at a better time to boost Zii Jia’s morale ahead of his crunch first round tie against world No. 4 Anders Antonsen of Denmark at the Perodua Malaysian Masters tomorrow.
Chong Wei was also present to witness the signing ceremony alongside BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria and secretary Datuk Kenny Goh.
The 100Plus was represented by its senior marketing manager Leong Wai Yin.
Said Chong Wei: “This is a good beginning for Zii Jia. He’s currently the national No. 1, and hopefully this sponsorship boost would take him to greater heights.
“I hope to see him becoming the world No. 1 one day.”
Source: The Star Online