The upcoming Sudirman Cup (September 26-October 3) may be shorn of a star-studded field, but national coaching director Wong Choong Hann wants to tick an immediate target before aiming for a podium finish.
The national contingent were given a quarter-final target for this team event in Vantaa, Finland.
“We know there are a few top shuttlers who will not be in action, and we will capitalize on that opportunity if there’s a chance for it. But for now, we will look to fulfill our immediate target first,” he said.
Malaysia are in Group D along with Japan, England and Egypt.
While Japan and England are not at full strength, they still have plenty of quality to make life difficult for the Malaysians.
Kento Momota, Nozomi Okuhara/Akane Yamaguchi and Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara will be expected to deliver the points for the Japanese in their final group match.
A young English skuad could also make life difficult for the national contingent, with women’s doubles pair Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch and mixed doubles duo Marcus Ellis-Smith in the fray.
But the national team are fired up to make an impact with a young squad.
Lee Zii Jia is ready to lead the line in the men’s singles, while Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik are still buoyed from the Tokyo Olympics success to continue in the same vein.
Despite the retirement of Goh Jin Wei, Malaysia has rising star S.Kisona in the women’s singles.
The reigning SEA Games gold medalist is out to stake claim as the country’s leading shuttler, with a title to her name this year when she won the Spanish International in June.
In the women’s doubles, Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah can continue to build on this year’s success by pitting themselves against some of the best in their group.
Wong added that preparations were good.
“We have had a succession of team events against each other to prepare them for this competition. The players are 90% ready. With a bit of fine tuning, they should be prepared,” he said.
The 30-strong national contingent left for Vantaa on Tuesday night.