MALAYSIAN shuttlers must top their group if they want to reach the knockout stage of the World Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia, next month.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) released the mixed team draw on Monday, and Malaysia were placed in Group B with fifth seeds Russia, Canada, Macau and Hong Kong.
Top seeds Indonesia are in Group A while 13-time champions China are in Group H.
Only the eight group winners will qualify for the quarter-finals.
“We have to top our group, (there’s) no other way,” said national junior chief coach Kwan Yoke Meng yesterday.
“On paper, Russia are ranked higher than us but this is a junior tournament. It’s usually based on tournament performance and not so much on ranking.
“I’m quite confident we can top the group.”
Speaking of the team’s prospects, especially after their dismal performance at the Asian Junior Championships in Suzhou, China in July, Yoke Meng said: “Our players did well at the recent Malaysia Junior International Challenge and the India International Junior ... that has boosted their confidence.
“If they can top the group at the world juniors, they would have done better than at the Asian meet.
“For now, I don’t want to think too far ahead. Top the group first ... anything beyond the quarter-finals will be a bonus.”
At the previous edition in Markham, Canada, Malaysia crashed out in the last eight after losing 3-1 to eventual champions China.
Malaysia won the crown in 2011 and were runners-up in 2009, 2016 and 2017.
The BA of Malaysia (BAM) are expected to name the squad for the world meet, to be held from Sept 30-Oct 13 (both mixed team and individual), this week.