Manila: The Badminton Asia (BA) was forced to re-draw the groups in men’s team and women’s team events on Monday after China, Hong Kong was banned from the tournament due to coronavirus outbreak, and India’s women’s team also pulled out due to concern of contracting the illness.
In the new brackets, Malaysia was grouped in Group B with India and Kazakhstan, making it easy to get to the quarter-finals by becoming the one of the top two teams in the group.
Despite a somewhat comfortable draw, Malaysia’s World No. 8 men’s doubles player, Aaron Chia admitted the pressure was still on him and his teammates.
“There is nothing I can say about the match against Kazakhstan tomorrow but if the coaches decided to play me and Wooi Yik, we will need to record a victory to score a point for our team,” said Chia.
Aaron, who played for the first time in the Thomas Cup two years ago, also did not want to comment on China’s absence in the tournament.
In fact, Chia/Soh will indeed be playing in the tie against Kazakhstan, and will face World No. 206 Artur Niyazov/Dmitriy Panarin in the first men’s doubles match.
Here’s the complete lineup for the tie between Malaysia and Kazakhstan:
Men’s Singles 1 Lee Zii Jia vs. Dmitriy Panarin
Men’s Singles 2 Cheam June Wei vs. Artur Niyazov
Men’s Singles 3 Leong Jun Hao vs. Khaitmurat Kulmatov
Men’s Doubles 1 Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik vs. Artur Niyazov/Dmitriy Panarin
Men’s Doubles 2 Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin vs. Nikita Bragin/Khaitmurat Kulmatov
Meanwhile, in day one of the tournament, Thailand’s women’s team showed its dominance by sweeping Philippines with a 5-0 while India’s men’s team completed a rout of Kazakhstan with at 4-1 win.