Shuttlers must continue gritty show against favourites China in semis

PETALING JAYA: Meticulous preparation and great determination have led the shuttlers to the mixed team semi-finals of the World Junior Championships.

Both men’s and women’s singles players Eogene Ewe and Ong Xin Yee played crucial roles to lead the team to a 3-0 win over India in the last eight in Spokane, Washington, on Thursday to assure Malaysia a bronze medal.

Mixed doubles pair Bryan Goonting-Chan Wen Tse had got the team off to a great start by sweeping aside Sathwik Reddy-Vaishnavi Khadkekar 21-12, 21-16.

Eogene then rose to the occasion magnificently to claim a battling 21-18, 16-21, 21-16 victory over Ayush Shetty to give Malaysia a 2-0 lead.

Xin Yee then had an opportunity to win the tie for her team and she did not disappoint.

The 17-year-old lost the first game 18-21 against Devika Sihag but showed great fighting spirit to win the next two games 21-16, 21-14 to hand victory to Malaysia.

“It was a fantastic performance by our players,” said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) acting development director Joanne Quay.

“All of them played their hearts out and were eager to win their matches.”

Joanne believed that sparring with the senior squad for a month before the tournament and engaging a psychologist was crucial to the victory.

“Certainly, sparring with the seniors helped the players.

Also, engaging a psychologist helped us customise the players’ programme with their needs.”

The last time Malaysia made it to the semi-finals was in 2017 where the team finished with a silver.

It was also redemption for the players, who had returned home empty-handed from the Asian Junior Championships in Yogyakarta in July.

“Our players have successfully met the target of securing a podium finish,” said team manager and Perlis Badminton Association president A’amar Hashim.

“They managed to handle the pressure well.”

Malaysia face an uphill battle in the last four against favourites China today.

The other semi-final will be between Indonesia and Taiwan.

Quarter-finals Malaysia bt India 3-0 (Bryan Goonting-Chan Wen Tse bt Sathwik Reddy-Vaishnavi Khadkekar 21-12, 21-16; Eogene Ewe bt Ayush Shetty 21-18, 16-21, 21-16; Ong Xin Yee bt Devika Sihag 18-21, 21-16, 21-14), China bt Japan 3-1, Indonesia bt France 3-1, Taiwan bt Thailand 3-2

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