(File pix) Muhammad Fazriq Razif is the younger player in the national junior badminton squad. Courtesy Photo

MALAYSIA have been handed a tough draw in the Asia Junior Championships mixed team event in Suzhou, China, next week but national junior coach Kwan Yoke Meng is unfazed by it.

The team are in Group A with favourites Indonesia and Japan.

Only the top two teams will qualify for the knockout stage.

Yoke Meng said: “Indonesia are very strong and are favourites to top the group, while on paper, Japan are better than us.

“However, we are a young team and I am preparing them for the future.

“It will be a great achievement if they can make it to the quarter-finals.”

Recently-crowned national Under-16 champion (boys’ singles and doubles) Muhammad Fazriq Sidek is the youngest player in the squad at 15.

“I have my plans for these juniors and I want to see them fight hard.

“Japan are strong in the boys’ singles, but I believe we can take them on in the boys’ doubles, girls’ singles and doubles, and mixed doubles,” added Yoke Meng.

Another promising young player in the squad is Selangor’s K. Letshanaa, who bagged the national Under-16 girls’ singles title recently.

The Asian junior starts with the mixed team event on July 20-23, followed by the individual competition on July 24-28.

GROUPINGSGroup A: Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia; Group B: Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka; Group C: South Korea, India, Mongolia, Macau; Group D: China, Singapore, Nepal.