Rexy: Pressure is on India to retain Commonwealth Games gold –

Badminton News: The pressure is on India to defend their mixed doubles gold medal at the Commonwealth Games (July 29-August 8) and this will allow the young Malaysian team to challenge the favorites in Birmingham.

National director of doubles coaching Rexy Mainaky says Malaysia can match Hindustan in all departments and sees women’s singles PV Sindhu as the only player who could have an edge.

Second-seeded Malaysia are in Group 4 with South Africa, Jamaica and Zambia, while first-seeded India are in Group 1 with Australia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Malaysia also avoided Singapore in the preliminary round as their regional rivals are in Group 2 with the third seed along with England, Mauritius and Barbados.

Group 3 includes the third seed with Canada, Scotland, Maldives and Uganda.

Two teams from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. Lakshya Sen and Lee ZIi JIa, who were supposed to dominate their respective groups, will be separated in the draw and will play the final again.

Rexy Mainaky said that although India won the Thomas Cup, they were not fully represented in the mixed team event and Malaysia should take advantage for the gold.

“The pressure is definitely on them. In Birmingham you can fight for four points as India are ahead in the women’s singles (Sindhu),” said Rexy.

“If Lee Zii Jia is included, he can play against Lakshya (Sen) while the men’s doubles will be a tight fight.”

“Our daughters, Pearly (Tan) and Mr. Thinaah, are also playing very well and we have mixed doubles options as well. This gives us a good chance to challenge gold against India. Expectations will be high for the defending champions and that’s a good situation for us.”

“I don’t understand why we are ranked second even though our players are placed higher in the world rankings. But I don’t think it will affect us that much.”

Zii Jia’s fine form should give Malaysia the lead as it will be a tough battle between Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik and Cup heroes Thomas Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty in men’s doubles. Malaysia can also count on the new mixed doubles combination Chan Peng Soon/Cheah Yee See.

Malaysia last won the mixed team gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Tags: India, Malaysia, Commonwealth Games 2022

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Cheryl Tenny

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