Commonwealth Games: India still a bane for Malaysia - Rexy

06/06/2022 04:21 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 (Bernama) -- Reigning champions India will once again be Malaysia’s biggest threat in the badminton mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the United Kingdom, next month.

As India are hot favourites to be on top of the podium in the quadrennial games, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky said the national squad, who were the runners-up in Gold Coast 2018, would surely work their socks off to wrest the gold medal from India.

“BAM plans to send the best squad for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham,” he told Bernama when contacted.

On paper, India look more formidable this time around, as they can rely on their men’s players such as Lakshya Sen as well as main doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty to help them retain the gold medal.

These players have helped India create history by lifting the Thomas Cup for the first time ever in Bangkok last May.

India can also count on their top women’s shuttler Pusarla V. Sindhu, who is ranked seventh in the world, should they decide to field her in the Games.

Although BAM has yet to announce their final squad, judging by Rexy’s desire to send only the best to Birmingham, Malaysia should parade their top men’s singles Lee Zii Jia, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games men's doubles bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and world number 10 women’s doubles pair of Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah to mount a strong challenge in Birmingham.

The national team had won the gold medal since the 2006 edition in Melbourne until India emerged as the new champions in Gold Coast 2018.

In Birmingham, Malaysia have been drawn against South Africa, Jamaica and Zambia in Group 4 while India have been placed in Group 1 with Australia and Sri Lanka.

Home squad England will be facing Singapore, Mauritius and Barbados in Group 2 while Group 3 comprises Canada, Scotland, Maldives and Uganda.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from July 28 to Aug 8.