Group round robin action at the Badminton Asia Youth Under 19 Mixed Team Championships ended largely as expected. The only question on Sunday morning was answered when Malaysia beat India 4-1 to join Hong Kong as the quarter-finalists from Group A.
Story and photos: Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Gimcheon
All other quarter-finalists had been decided but Day 1 blowouts and with China looking much less dominant this year, there was no noticeable effort to field under-strength teams, despite the draw for the knockout round being known already. India’s Sameer Verma (pictured below), boys’ singles runner-up last year in the individual competition, was unable to cope with Malaysia’s Soong Joo Ven (pictured above).
Play began early on Sunday as the rice fields and vineyards surrounding the Gimcheon Indoor Gymnasium languished in the sun after an invigorating rain. Thailand and Korea both came out at full strength, despite the fact that the Group winner was drawn in the same half as China.
Kim Hyo Min fought valiantly against Malaysia Grand Prix Gold champion Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand but the tall Korean came up short in the end.
Two more lanky singles players came out to earn the sole points for their teams. India’s Sindhu P.V. (pictured above) salvaged the dignity for her team while in Group B, it was Wang Tzu Wei (pictured below) who picked up the lone point for Chinese Taipei in their losing effort against Indonesia.
The Asian Juniors this year also provides a glimpse of the new roles of some former greats. Coaching Malaysia’s girls’ singles squad is the recently retired Wong Mew Choo (pictured above left with Lim Yin Fun). More successful in the morning were the charges of Sigit Budiarto. Arya Maulana Aldiartama / Edi Subaktiar (pictured above right with Sigit) had a stutter start before seeing off Taiwan’s Wang/Wu in half an hour.
Indonesia’s girls’ doubles pairing Melati Daeva Oktavianti Rosyita Eka Putri Sari (pictured below) may not have had such a famous coach but their win was more convincing, as they finished off Taiwan with a straight-game victory over Chen/Chen.
Losing efforts still gave some players a chance to shine. Japan’s Aya Ohori (pictured above) found the winning formula over Chen Shuyuan of China to keep that tie interesting. Meanwhile, down 0-2, Choi Sol Kyu / Park Se Woong (pictured below) of Korea made sure that the home team didn’t get blanked by the upstarts from Thailand.
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