PETALING JAYA: The in-depth strength possessed by defending champions China is very intimidating indeed.
Like Malaysia, they also pride themselves in having a young squad at the Sudirman Cup in Vantaa, Finland with a majority of their members being born after 1995.
And still they were too hot to handle as they steamrolled India 5-0 yesterday for their second win in Group A to become the first side to qualify for the knockout stage.
China who are in Vantaa without world champions Chen Long, Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen and Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong, had earlier defeated Finland 5-0.
Against ninth seeds India, China made a total change to their line-up that played Finland but it did stop the team led by their next generation of stars – Shi Yuqi and Chen Yufei – from winning comfortably.
The 11-time champions have now fielded 16 out of their 20-member roster in two matches.
To be fair, India the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games mixed team gold medallists had been severely affected by the absence of their key players like P. V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.
China’s supremo Xia Xuanze told the Chinese media prior to the tournament that they are aiming nothing less than the title.
“Although we’re the defending champions, we still face strong challenges from our competitors,” said Xuanze.
“The Japanese team did not play well at the Tokyo Olympics so I believe they will go all out this time.
“The Indonesian team sent a strong squad but our youngsters can take them on. Our goal is to win.”
The main concern for Xuanze is to keep his entire squad free from injury for the tournament.
That’s because his charges travelled to Finland almost immediately after they have competed in the National Games in Shaanxi.
“Obviously the schedule is a challenge for us but our young players should be able to overcome it. We must pay extra attention on the need to keep them injury free.”
SUDIRMAN CUP RESULTS
Group A: China bt India 5-0 (Liu Cheng-Zhou Haodong bt M. R. Arjun-Dhruv Kapila 22-20, 21-17; Chen Yufei bt Aditi Bhatt 21-9, 21-8; Shi Yuqi bt B. Sai Praneeth 21-10, 21-10; Li Wenmei-Zheng Yu bt Ashwini Ponnappa-N. Sikki Reddy 21-16, 21-13; Feng Yanzhe-Du Yue bt K. Srikanth-Rutaparna Panda 21-9, 21-9).
Group B: South Korea bt Germany 4-1 (Kim Won-ho-Shin Sheung-chan lost to Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Lohau 20-22, 18-21; Heo Kwang-hee bt Max Weisskirchen 21-12, 13-21, 21-19; An Se-young bt Yvonne Li 21-4, 21-11; Choi Solgyu-Seo Seung-jae bt Mark Lamsfuss-Marvin Seidel 23-21, 21-19; Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong bt Linda Efler-Isabel Lohau 21-11, 21-17).
Group C: Indonesia bt Russia 5-0 (Anthony Ginting bt Ivan Sozonov 21-8, 21-8; Gregoria Mariska bt Anastasiia Shapovalova 21-14, 21-13; Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya bt Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov 21-17, 21-18; Siti Fadia-Ribka Sugiarto bt Evgeniya Kosetskaya-Ekaterina Malkova 21-13, 21-15; Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva bt Rodio Alimov-Alina Davletova 21-15, 27-25).
Denmark bt Canada 5-0 (Niclas Nohr-Ameli Magelund bt Nyl Yakura-Crystal Lai 21-9, 21-4; Anders Antonsen bt Brian Yang 21-18, 21-19; Line Christophersen bt Rachel Chan 21-13, 21-17; Mads Pieler-Frederik Sogaard bt B. R. Sankeerth-Nyl Yakura 21-15, 21-10; Amelie Magelund-Freja Ravn bt Catherine Choi-Crystal Lai 21-16, 21-13).
Group D: Malaysia bt England 3-2 (Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See bt Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith 21-19, 21-18; Lee Zii Jia bt Johnnie Torjussen 21-4, 21-15; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Sean Vendy-Ben Lane 22-20, 21-18; S. Kisona lost to Abigail Holden 16-21, 20-22; Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah lost to Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch 18-21, 21-17, 10-21).
Japan bt Egypt 5-0 (Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo bt Ahmed Salah-Nour Ahmed 21-4, 21-6; Kenta Nishimoto bt Adham Elgamal 21-5, 21-5; Sayaka Takahashi bt Doha Hany 21-4, 21-2; Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi bt Adham Elgamal-Mohamed Mostafa 21-4, 21-6; Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida bt Nour Ahmed-Doha Hany 21-7, 21-5).