ALOR SETAR: South Korea will not compete in the mixed team event of the Yonex-Sunrise World Junior Badminton Championships, which will be held at the Sultan Abdul Halim Indoor Stadium here from Oct 23-Nov 1.
And the news is like sweet music to Malaysia, who are set to move up to take second seeding when the draw is made later this month. The seeding means that Malaysia can only meet top seed China in the final.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) media and communications manager, S. Selvam, confirmed at the championships’ official logo launch at the Wisma Darulaman here yesterday that South Korea failed to register for the team event on time.
“We waited until last weekend to accommodate late entries for the mixed team event. But we did not hear anything from South Korea and we will have 22 countries for the event,” he said. But the door is still open for the Koreans to compete in the individual events as the closing date for entries is on Oct 9.”
The 22 countries for the mixed team competition are Cambodia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the Philippines, the United States, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
Malaysia will start as strong contenders for the title following their success in winning the Asian junior title in Kuala Lumpur this year. Malaysia stunned China 3-1 in the final.
“Of course, it (the Korean absence) is good news,” said national juniors’ doubles chief coach Yap Kim Hock in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur. “It is best to avoid being drawn in the same half as China. But securing a top two seeding does not mean that Malaysia will cruise into the final. We cannot take the other teams for granted, especially Denmark and Thailand.”
He added that he had already submitted his list of doubles players for the championships to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for approval.
Singles coach Sun Chenhua has already disclosed his list of players. They are Iskandar Zulkarnain, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Zulfadli Zulkifli, Mohd Syawal Ismail, Tee Jing Yi, Sonia Cheah, Yang Yi Lian and Florah Ng.
Meanwhile, the Kedah BA announced that they would be selling season tickets for all competition days priced at RM30. They will be made available at the KBA Badminton Hall in Jalan Suka Menanti from two weeks before the championships begin.
The team competition will run from Oct 23-26 and the individual events from Oct 28-Nov 1.
It will be the second time that Malaysia are hosting the annual championships after 1994 in Kuala Lumpur. In the last championships in Pune, India, Malaysia won the men’s doubles title through Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang.