It was a stroll in the park for Malaysia with a 5-0 win over Kazakstan in their opening Group B match in the men’s team event in the Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila on Wednesday.
Malaysia is drawn in Group B and will India on Thursday to decide the group champions. India beat Kazakstan 4-1 on Tuesday.
India has come with a strong team with its eyes on the semi-finals in a bid to qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals to be held in Aarhus, Denmark in May.
Malaysia team manager Wong Choong Hann expected the win over Kazakhstan and hopes the team will carry the momentum against India.
“It was a pretty straight forward win and convincing to get into the mood for the cruncher against India,” said Choong Hann, who is also the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director.
”The win will stand in good stead for the players. The match against Kazakhstan was the perfect avenue to get acclimatized to the court and shuttle conditions. The players were well-focused. They believed in themselves.”
Malaysia’s top shuttler Lee Zii Jia set the tone by winning the first point with a 21-6, 21-12 win over Dimitriy Panarin in 29 minutes. Cheam June Wei came on court in the second singles and walked away with a 21-15, 21-11 win over Artur Niyazov in only 25 minutes.
It was also plain sailing for Leong Jun Hao in his 21-13, 21-13 win over Khaitmurat Kulmatov in the third singles before the doubles pairs went into action on Court 2.
Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik needed only 19 minutes to demolish Artur Niyazov-Dimitriy 21-11, 21-11 and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani knocked out Nikita Bragin-Khaitmurat 21-9, 21-4 in even quicker time of 18 minutes to complete the rout. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH