PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's dream of their first-ever team final in the KLRC-BWF World Junior Championships went up in smoke after losing 0-3 to China in Auckland yesterday.
Malaysia were banking on Asian junior champions Tan Wee Kiong-Woon Khe Wei to give them a flying start but the mixed doubles pair went down meekly 15-21, 9-21 to Chao Biao-Li Xuerui.
In the absence of injured Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, the boys' singles point was as good as China's and Chen Long proved it with a convincing 21-8, 21-8 win over Vountus Indra Mawan.
Lydia Cheah tried her best to keep Malaysia's hopes alive in the third match – the girls' singles – but to no avail. She was beaten 18-21, 10-21 by Wang Lin in just 28 minutes.
China will take on defending champions South Korea, who defeated Singapore 3-1, in today's final.
Malaysia's doubles coach Jeremy Gan said that the defeat was expected after the failure of Wee Kiong-Khe Wei in the first tie.
“We knew that we had a fighting chance against China only in the doubles events after Arif's injury (during the quarter-finals against Thailand on Friday). But our game plan did not work today, “ said Jeremy in a telephone interview from Auckland.
“All eyes were on Wee Kiong-Khe Wei and that was too much for them. They played too safe and it was not their best showing.”
Jeremy, however, said that the defeat was a blessing in disguise.
“Our players can now get ready for the individual competition, which begins on Tuesday.
“Both Wee Kiong and Khe Wei have been down since winning the Asian junior title (in July).
“They have vowed to do better and we certainly hope for a more fired-up performance from them in the individual event,” added Jeremy.
“We are also glad that Arif has a few days of rest before the start of the individual events. Hopefully, he will be back at his best to challenge for the singles title.”
Malaysia are also banking on Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun to win the boys' doubles title.
Semi-finals: China bt Malaysia 3-0 (Chai Biao-Li Xuerui bt Tan Wee Kiong-Woon Khe Wei 21-15, 21-9; Chen Long bt Vountus Indra Mawan 21-8, 21-8; Wang Lin bt Lydia Cheah 21-18, 21-10), South Korea bt Singapore 3-1.
5th-8th: Indonesia bt India 3-0, Japan bt Thailand 3-2.
9th-12th: Scotland bt New Zealand 3-0, England bt Bulgaria 3-0.