Malaysia sealed a semi-final berth in the men’s event of the Asia Team Championships after they thumped minnows Kazakhstan 5-0 despite fielding an almost completely different line-up to the team who trounced Singapore.
The national team made wholesale changes against Kazakhstan as Lee Zii Jia, Ng Tze Yong and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik were all rested.
Their replacements all did their job admirably against a nation whose sporting prowess included boxing, basketball and cross-country skiing.
Aidil Sholeh was up inthe first men’s singles and he took 26 minutes to beat Niyazov Artur 21-11, 21-12.
Lim Chong King duly extended that advantage with a 21-11, 21-11 victory over Kulmatov Khaitmurat, before Jacky Kok sealed the victory with a 21-8, 21-4 triumph over Tajibullayev Makhsut.
Of the men’s singles’ victories, Kok’s was the biggest and sealed the quickest after 20 minutes.
The 20-year-old, who also earned admiration from Lee, had been in good form after winning the Swedish Open and reaching the Estonian International.final in January.
Kok’s post-match comments were also good, with the youngster saying he was never going to take anything for granted against an opponent inferior to him.
“The one thing that I would not do is look down on an opponent. I am thankful to be given this opportunity to play in this event. It feels good to have contributed a point that seals our win.
“I have been learning a lot from my seniors on how to handle pressure and the situation on court,” he said.
Another in-form pair in Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun then made it 4-0 after making light work of Ibrayev Jangir-Lysenko Ilya to win 21-5, 21-5 after 17 minutes.
Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin completed the demolition with a 21-8, 21-4 win over Shalagin Andrey-Tajibullayev Makhsut.
RESULTS: #BATC2022— BAM (@BA_Malaysia) February 17, 2022
?? 5-0 ??
Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin def. Shalagin Andrey-Tajibullayev Makhsut 21-8 21-4
* The men’s team seal qualification to Thomas Cup finals#DemiMalaysia#BadmintonMalaysia pic.twitter.com/NciFrFWeKJ
The men’s team next take on Japan on Friday.
The women’s team are already through to the semis, where a fresh draw will be made ahead of Saturday’s action.