PETALING JAYA: Indra Wijaya was ready to pack his bags and return home to Indonesia last month.

But a call from national No. 1 Lee Zii Jia changed everything.

The 47-year-old has now been entrusted with the duty to coach and guide Zii Jia as the latter embarks on a journey to be the country’s most successful professional player.

And Indra is ready for the unique yet challenging call of duty.

“It all happened out of the blue. I had resigned (from the Badminton Association of Malaysia) and was ready to go back home. Then, 2021 All-England champion Zii Jia called me just before the Asia Team Championships,” said Indra.

“I think this partnership will work because we have built the trust in each other over the years,” he said.

Indra started coaching Zii Jia and a few other juniors in 2016 when Hendrawan and Tey Seu Bock devoted their time to managing Lee Chong Wei then.

“He was with me all the way until I was moved to coach the women’s singles recently,” he said.

“This coaching job will be quite challenging for me too as I’ve never coached a professional player before. Usually, I’m under an organisation.

“It’s also a new journey for me as a professional coach too but the job scope remains the same – to transfer all the knowledge I have to Zii Jia and just give my full commitment to guiding him.”

Indra said it was a joy to coach a “stubborn” Zii Jia.

“Over the years, I’ve noticed one thing about him – his discipline to achieve what he wants,” said Indra.

“He has this stubbornness in him like no other, but in a good way. I like that in him. He does not like to lose and always pushes the barrier to achieve his goals.

“I can’t compare him with others. Players like Lin Dan (China), Chong Wei, Taufik (Hidayat, Indonesia) have their unique ways and characters. Zii Jia too has his own style, and I’m able to work with him.”

Indra is looking forward to a hectic season with Zii Jia. They are currently preparing for the German Open in Mulheim (March 8-13) and the All-England in Birmingham (March 16-20).

“There are many tournaments ahead of him and he may be called for national duty too like playing in the Thomas Cup Finals, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. The journey ahead may be challenging but both of us are ready.”

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