Commonwealth Games: Youthful S'pore shuttlers cruise into q-finals of mixed team event

Singaporeans Terry Hee and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta at the mixed team group play stage of the men's doubles at the Carrara Sports Arena 2 in Gold Coast, Australia on April 5, 2018.
Singaporeans Terry Hee and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta at the mixed team group play stage of the men's doubles at the Carrara Sports Arena 2 in Gold Coast, Australia on April 5, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

GOLD COAST - Belying their age and experience, Singapore's shuttlers calmly negotiated their way into the quarter-finals of the mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia after winning both their group matches on Thursday (April 5).

In their Group B opener against Jamaica in the morning at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on the Gold Coast, the Republic were dominant and notched a 5-0 win.

The 10-player squad, with an average age of just 22.1 which makes them the youngest the country has sent to the Games, then followed that with another 5-0 win over Zambia in the evening.

With the two victories, world No. 13 Singapore have booked their spot in the knock-out rounds. They finish their group against 32nd-ranked Mauritius on Friday.

While progress was to be expected given Singapore's ranking and the favourable draw - Zambia are world No. 55 and Jamaica are 67th - there were still some question marks about the squad's maturity for the tournament in Australia.

Only Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Terry Hee have previous Commonwealth Games experience while their other eight team-mates are making their Games debut.

The top two teams in each of the four groups will advance to the quarter-finals, with the four winners re-seeded for the knock-out rounds according to their world rankings.

Countries from the same group will not be drawn against each other for the last eight.

World No. 8 India are the top seeds, followed by Malaysia (9), Singapore and England (14).

The Republic clinched a bronze in 2014 after they beat India 3-2 in the bronze-medal match.

Singapore lost by the same score to eventual champions Malaysia in the semi-finals. However, seven in that team of 10 players, including men's singles silver medallist Derek Wong, have since retired.