KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — The national badminton squad has been given the target of reaching the semifinals during the upcoming Sudirman Cup, scheduled from May 14-21 in Suzhou, China, which means it will at least emulate the bronze medal feat in the previous edition held in Vantaa, Finland.
Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) High Performance Director Tim Jones announced the target today after naming a strong 20-player squad comprising a blend of both Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and independent players for the world mixed team championship.
The list saw world number four Lee Zii Jia and Ng Tze Yong in the men’s singles, while the women’s singles was headed by Goh Jin Wei and K. Letshanaa.
Men’s doubles will be led by reigning world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik accompanied by Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin, while world number eight Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah are listed in the women’s doubles with Go Pei Kee and Valeree Siow.
However, in a surprise move, BAM named four mixed doubles pairs comprising world number eight Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai, world number 13, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (both independent pair), newly crowned Orleans Masters champions Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei and Hoo Pang Ron-Teoh Mei Xing.
Jones said the coaching team decided to take four mixed doubles pairs to give a fair chance for both the independent and ABM players.
“We want to make sure we have the strongest team to play, so this gives us the option to choose our best players. This makes us flexible as well, if we want to use any scratch pair, we have the option, while we also have to leave some players for the SEA Games team.
“The players (who will play) will be selected based on both ranking and current performances. We get them to China, continue training and we will make decisions from there,” he said in a press conference at the ABM here, today.
With the Badminton Asia Championships held in Dubai from April 25-30 followed by the SEA Games in Phnom Penh from May 5-17, Jones said the Sudirman Cup shuttlers are expected to undergo centralised training camp from May 2-10, before flying to China on May 11.
Malaysia has been drawn in Group C with Chinese Taipei, Thomas Cup winners India and Australia. According to the tournament format, each team will have to play in the men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles matches in the group ties.
Malaysia’s best achievement in the biennial tournament is winning bronze in the 2021 Vantaa and 2009 Guangzhou, China editions. — Bernama