KUALA LUMPUR: Call it fate or luck of the draw, Malaysia are once again slated to meet top seeds China in the quarter-finals of the World Junior Championship badminton mixed team event in Markham, Canada, on Nov 5-10.
In the draw ceremony at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) office here yesterday, Malaysia were grouped with hosts Canada, Ukraine, Poland and Sweden.
A total of 41 teams (seven groups) will be vying for the top prize (Suhandinata Cup).
National junior head coach, Kwan Yoke Meng, when contacted, could only laugh it off, knowing his charges will have to go the extra mile, should they want to reach the final again. Malaysia lost 3-1 to China in the final last year.
"I don't know why, but we always meet China so early on," quipped Yoke Meng.
"We played them two years in a row in the quarter-finals of the 2015 and 2016 Asian Junior Championships.
"I must say we still have a good chance of going far in the tournament. At the junior level, the standards among the top teams are almost the same.
"Of course, China are favourites, but if we can focus on our strength, we can win three points.
"Another important thing is luck. We need a lot of that."
Malaysia will be looking to score points through former world junior champion Goh Jin Wei (girls' singles), girls’ doubles and mixed doubles.
The last time Malaysia came out tops in the mixed team event was in 2011 in Taiwan.
Apart from China, who won 12 out of 15 titles since the tournament’s inception in 2000, the other nation to have won the coveted Suhandinata Cup is South Korea (2006 and 2013).
The Malaysian squad. Boys: Ng Tze Yong, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, Choong Hon Jian, Lwi Sheng Hao, Yap Roy King, Chia Wei Jie, Chua Yue Chern
Girls: Goh Jin Wei, Pearly Tan, Toh Ee Wei, Eoon Qi Xuan