Malaysian shuttlers upbeat after bright start at World Juniors

KUALA LUMPUR: As expected, Malaysia kicked off their World Junior Mixed Team Championship campaign with flying colours, securing victories against Poland and Austria in Spokane, Washington on Monday.

All 11 players in the squad, comprising six boys and five girls, were fielded as Malaysia defeated Poland 4-1 and Austria 5-0 to sit atop Group C.

In the tie against Poland, the mixed pair of Bryan Jeremy Goonting and Chan Wen Tse gave Malaysia an early advantage, triumphing over Jan Wilczak-Anna Czuchra 21-10, 21-9. Eogene Ewe and Ong Xin Yee then sealed the win in the boys' and girls' singles matches.

Eogene recorded a 21-12, 21-8 victory against Mateusz Golas, while Xin Yee prevailed over Joanna Podedworny 21-9, 21-15.Bryan returned to the court to partner with Aaron Tai, further extending Malaysia's lead to 4-0 by overcoming Golas-Wilczak 21-10, 21-8.

The only setback for Malaysia was the match between Wen Tse-Chong Jie Yu, who were narrowly defeated by Anna Czuchra-Podedworny 21-19, 11-21, 21-18. However, Jie Yu redeemed herself later in the day.

Teaming up with her regular partner, Low Han Chen, they overcame Jakob Rinner-Sara Dlapka with a convincing 21-12, 21-7 win, putting Malaysia in the lead against Austria.Second-choice boys' and girls' singles players, Faiq Haziq and Siti Zulaikha Azmi, proved dominant against their competitors, granting Malaysia an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Faiq defeated Pascal Cheng 21-15, 21-9, and Siti showcased her prowess by outplaying Anja Rumpold 21-13, 21-7.Kang Khai Xing-Aaron and Xin Yee-Carmen Ting sealed Malaysia's dominant performance in the boys' and girls' doubles, with victories of 21-6, 21-10 against Ilija Nicolussi-Rinner and 21-5, 21-9 over Lena Krug-Chlara Rudolf, respectively.

BA of Malaysia acting development director Joanne Quay was delighted with the players' spirited start.

"Everyone had a chance to play a match at least, and they did well," said Joanne.

"Although we lost a point through the girls' doubles against Poland, it did not dampen the team spirit at all. The boys' and girls' came back to beat Austria 5-0 in the afternoon.

"The goal is to win all our group matches and emerge as Group C champions to qualify for the quarterfinals. If all goes well, we should meet either India or Germany, who are expected to be Group D winners."

Malaysia will play their remaining two fixtures against Latvia on Tuesday and England on Wednesday.

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