By Rizal Abdullah
He came as a last minute replacement but Soong Joo Ven paved the way for Malaysia’s 5-0 win over minnows Sri Lanka 5-0 in their opening Group B match in the inaugural Robot Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships at the Nguyen Du Cultural Sports Club in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old did not disappoint as he picked up Malaysia’s first point with a 21-8, 21-17 win over Niluka Karunaratne.
Coach Tey Seu Bok said Voo Jen did not disappoint as he is the “right candidate, based on his current form and desire” as injured Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin’s replacement in the team.
Iskandar, the national No 2 aggravated his back injury which has seriously jeopardized his hopes of making his All-England debut next month.
“Joo Ven played a good game to inspire his teammates,” said Seu Bok after the match.
Joo Ven, who played for Kepong BC in the recent Purple League, was himself pleased with his win, hoping that it will not be the end.
“I was chosen for this tournament because they have faith in me. I am glad that I got the first point for my team and inspire my teammates for the win,” said Joo Ven after his 21-8, 21-17 win over Sri Lanka veteran Niluka Karunaratne,
Lee Ying Ying won her women’s singles match against Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa 21-19, 21-11 in 31 minutes but admitted that she did not perform well overall.
Malaysia Masters runners-up Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin were made to struggle for their 21-18, 22-20 win over brothers Niluka and Dinuka in the men’s doubles before Lim Yin Loo-Yap Cheng Wen wrapped up their women’s doubles match against Thilini-Kavindi Ishandika Sirimannage 21-11, 21-15.
As expected Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie delivered Malaysia’s last point with a 21-12, 21-12 win over Renu Chandrika Hettiarachchige-Dinuka in the mixed doubles.
China, the top seeds in the tournament were also in smashing form and made their intentions known of wanting to be the first winners of the title, with a 5-0 whitewash of Hong Kong.
With world junior champion Chen Yufei and future stars in the making like Qiao Bin (men’s singles), Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (women’s doubles) the Chinese look unstoppable in Ho Chi Minh City.
China 5 Hong Kong 0
MS: Qiao Bin beat Vincent Wong Wing Ki 21-12, 21-12
WS: Chen Yufei beat Yip Pui Yin 21-11, 21-18
MD: Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen beat Law Cheuk Him-Reginald Lee Chun Hei 21-16, 21-14
WD: Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan beat Ng Tsz Yau-Yeung Nga Ting 21-13, 21-18
XD: Li Yunhui-Zhang Nan beat Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet 16-21, 21-16, 21-11
Malaysia 5 Sri Lanka 0
MS: Soong Joo Ven beat Niluka Karunaratne 21-8, 21-17
MD: Goh Sze Fei-Nu Izzuddin beat Dinuka Karunaratna-Niluka Karunaratne 21-18, 22-20
WS: Lee Ying Ying beat Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa 21-19, 21-11
WD: Lim Yin Loo-Yap Cheng Wen beat Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa-Kavindi Ishandika Sirimannage 21-11, 21-15
XD: Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie beat Renu Chandrika Hettiarachchige 21-12, 21-12