C'wealth Games: Redemption work begins for shuttlers

C'wealth Games: Redemption work begins for shuttlers
Gold prospect: Singapore badminton athletes Shinta Mulia Sari (second from left) and Yao Lei (third from left) are the top seeds for the women’s doubles event and they hope to better their second-placed finish at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

On the eve of the mixed team event opener against Jamaica, Singapore badminton team manager Chew Keet Hou attempted to downplay expectations of a good medal haul at the Commonwealth Games.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, he did admit, however, that gold could be on the cards for the 10-member squad in Glasgow, Scotland.

In the mixed-team event which starts today, Singapore are seeded in a relatively trouble-free Group E ahead of South Africa, Jamaica and the Norfolk Islands.

The six group winners and two best runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals. The target for the Singapore team is to top the group.

"The expectation is that we win all five matches against Jamaica and get that winning mentality going," he said.

"Jamaica may not be a strong badminton country, but, of course, we will not take them lightly."

The Singapore shuttlers have redemption on their minds after a dismal showing at the Singapore Open earlier this year, which followed a poor outing at the 2013 South-east Asia (SEA) Games, when they returned with just one bronze, down from a gold and four bronzes in 2011.

The Republic's shuttlers bagged one silver and two bronze medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

With the withdrawal of singles stars Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) and Saina Nehwal (India) through injury and with some countries sending developmental teams, a gold medal for Singapore in badminton in Glasgow is a possibility.

Said Chew: "A gold is not impossible, especially when you look at the last SEA Games, where unseeded players (in the women's singles and doubles) surprised everyone and won.

"It won't be easy; the traditionally strong nations like Malaysia, England and India are all here.

"And we must watch for the Canadian and Australian pairings, as well as Scotland. They are all on the rise."

Top seeds

Singapore's Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei, the top seeds in the women's doubles - they lost to an Indian pair in the final four years ago - are tipped to go one better this time, while leading male shuttler Derek Wong is looking to reach the singles' semi-finals.

Singaporeans can also be optimistic about the mixed-doubles pairing of Vanessa Neo and Danny Chrisnanta, who are seeded second, and men's duo Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart, who are ranked third.

"We're looking for everyone to put in their best," said Chew.

"So far, things have been going well here in Glasgow. The weather has been nice - not too cold - and everyone is quite relaxed at the moment."

This article was first published on July 24, 2014.
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