ALOR SETAR: With nothing to lose, Malaysia plan to blood some of their youngsters in their final match of the mixed team event at the World Junior Championships here.
Malaysia meet defending champions South Korea in the fifth-sixth placing playoff at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium here on Friday.
Head coach Zhou Kejian said he’s looking to field some of the much younger players in his 22-member squad, such as girls’ singles player Goh Jin Wei, who also played in the tournament last year.
“Facing South Korea tomorrow will be difficult. They have a much more systematic training regime than us. So, we expect them to be tough customers,” said Kejian.
South Korea are two-time winners of the mixed team event for the Suhandinata Cup in 2006 and 2013.
“We have nothing to lose so I’m not opposed to giving the rest of the squad a chance to play and to let them get a feel of the courts ahead of the individual competition.
“I think this is the only way our juniors can develop. Everyone has to start somewhere and it’ll be a good experience for the younger ones. We have to give them a chance to play when we can afford it.”
Keijian was happy with Malaysia’s display on Thursday when they beat Taiwan 3-1 in their fifth to eight place playoff match.
Mixed doubles pair Goh Yea Ching-Tan Jinn Hwa got the ball rolling as they held on to beat Pan Tzu Chin-Yang Ming Tse 21-10, 21-19.
Lee Zii Jia, who played his first match of the tournament, was stretched to three games in the boys’ singles before eventually overcoming Chang En Chia 13-21, 21-16, 21-14 in 47 minutes.
Taiwanese pair Lee Chia Han-Wu Yuan Cheng snatched a point by beating Jinn Hwa-Goh Sze Fei 21-11, 23-21.
It was then left to Lee Ying Ying, who was also playing her first match, to wrap up the win for Malaysia by downing Sung Shuo Yun 21-17, 21-19 in the girls’ singles.