Our mixed team shuttlers set to end long drought


PETALING JAYA: It seems odd but Malaysia’s last podium finish in the Asian Junior Championships was in Jakarta six years ago but the agonising wait should end when the competition gets under way in Yogyakarta today.

Malaysia have a favourable draw as they just need to top Group B consisting Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates and Macau.

Winning the Group B will see them joining Indonesia at the bottom half of the draw while Thailand and China, possible Group A and D winners respectively, should be in the top half of the draw.

Malaysia were beaten 0-3 by Thailand in the quarter-finals in Yogyakarta last year.

Powered by boys’ Mohd Faiq Masawi (singles), Aaron Tai-Kang Khai Xing (doubles); and girls’ Siti Zulaikah Azmi (singles); Ong Xin Yee-Carmen Ting (doubles) and Lok Hong Quan-Clarissa Chan (mixed doubles), Malaysia are capable of battling their way into the semi-finals.

If they finish champions of Group B, Malaysia are expected to meet India in the last eight and can fancy securing their first medal in the tournament after six years by reaching the semi-finals.

National junior head coach Jeffer Rosobin is optimistic Malaysia will have a good start in the tournament by doing well in the mixed team event.

“The draw is really good for us. The team are prepared and have the chance to fight against the top teams,” said Rosobin.

“Faiq, Aaron-Khai Xing and Zulaikah look good while our girls’ doubles and mixed doubles can also provide the stability to the team.”

Malaysia’s best bets for honours is Aaron-Khai Xing in the individual events but a medal-winning start in the mixed team will be the boost Malaysia need before looking forward to more breakthroughs in the individual event next week.

Malaysia will play Macau in their opening Group B match today.

TODAY’S MATCHES

Group A: Thailand vs Taiwan.

Group B: Malaysia vs Macau; United Arab Emirates vs Kazakhstan.

Group C: Indonesia vs Philippines; India vs Vietnam.

Group D: China vs Hong Kong; Japan vs Singapore.

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