Malaysian shuttlers power into quarters of World Juniors

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia are just one step away from returning to the podium of the BWF World Junior Mixed Team Championship, also known as the Suhandinata Cup, after a lapse of six years.

On Wednesday, Malaysia powered past England 5-0 to emerge as Group C champions at The Podium in Spokane, United States. This sets up a quarter-final clash with India, who topped Group D.

Fielding their strongest selection against England, Low Han Chen-Chan Wen Tse drew first blood by beating Oliver Butler-Chloe Dennis 21-16, 21-17 in the mixed doubles, while boys' singles Eogene breezed past Michael Pang with 21-6, 21-9 in the next match.

Siti Zulaikha Azmi overcame a first-game blemish to beat Leona 16-21, 21-18, 21-10, sealing a 3-0 lead for Malaysia.

Bryan Jeremy Goonting-Aaron Tai secured their third consecutive boys' doubles win of the campaign with a 21-12, 21-10 victory over Robin Harper-Harry Wakefield, and girls' doubles Xin Yee-Carmen defeated Lucy Brierley-Tashvi Parab 21-11, 21-9.

In Kazan 2019, Malaysia faced a surprising defeat against Hong Kong in the top-of-the-table battle. In Santander, Spain, in 2022, they were unlucky to be drawn with top seeds Indonesia and were outplayed by them.

While Malaysia bounced back in the classification ties to secure ninth place overall, it was a small consolation for a nation that won the 2011 edition, making them one of only four nations to achieve this feat alongside China, South Korea, and Indonesia.

With formidable players like Ayush Shetty and Tara Shah in their squad, India pose a significant challenge to Malaysia's hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

Malaysia's last encounter with India was during the ninth-16th classification match in Santander, where they triumphed 3-1. However, this upcoming tie promises to be a different ball game.

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