Asian Junior Championships to test Malaysia's rising badminton stars

KUALA LUMPUR: It has been a decent year so far for the Malaysian senior shuttlers, but it is time to shift focus towards the juniors.

After a two-year absence, the Asian Junior Championships will return with the mixed team event on July 7-11 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) has named a 16-member squad for the event and will add seven more players to the list for the individual event on July 12-16. ABM has not set specific targets for the team but pointed out that some of the players needed to meet certain expectations.

ABM deputy development director Joanne Quay said: "These players are under our development programme, and it's a process. "But it is also crucial for them to meet certain expectations.

"A lot has been invested into these players from the state level up to where they are now." In 2019, Malaysia returned empty-handed, something the national camp would want to avoid at all costs.

Leong Jun Hao was the last Malaysian to win a title in the championships. He won the boys' singles event at the 2017 edition."We will wait for the mixed team event draw (today) before announcing our target.

"We don't really know how strong countries like Indonesia, China, South Korea and Taiwan are. It will be good to see where we stand," added Joanne. Based on the seeding report, Malaysia are ranked No 3 in the mixed team event behind top seeds China, second seeds Thailand and fourth seeds Japan.

In the individual event, all eyes will be on boys' singles player Eogene Ewe, who is seeded second behind United Arab Emirates' Bharath Latheesh and boys' doubles top seeds Aaron Tai-Kang Khai Xing.

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