India stand between Hong Kong and semi-finals at Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships
- Victory over Pakistan and Japan win over Taiwan gets Hong Kong into quarter-finals in Dubai
- Teams that make semi-finals will qualify for world tournament where Olympic qualifying points will be up for grabs
Hong Kong face a tough test against India in the quarter-finals of the Asia Badminton Mixed Team Championships in Dubai on Friday.
The city’s shuttlers had all their top players in action on Thursday as they swept past Pakistan 5-0 in their last game in Group D, but still needed Japan to beat Taiwan 3-2 to ensure their progress.
Japan were unbeaten in the group after seeing off Hong Kong 4-1 in their second game, having dismissed Pakistan 5-0 in their opener. Hong Kong finished second courtesy of a 3-2 win over Taiwan on the opening day.
A draw on Thursday night handed Hong Kong a clash with India, who topped Group B, in the last eight, but head coach Tim He Yiming was not too disappointed.
Defending champions China finished first in Group A and will take on Malaysia, while Group C winners Indonesia face South Korea, who lost 3-2 to China in their last group match and finished second in their pool. Japan will meet Thailand.
“India will be the better team to handle compared to the two other group winners, but of course they are still ranked higher than us,” He said. “We can give them some problems in the men’s singles and mixed doubles, and will have to offer our best in three remaining ties and see how it goes.”
The four semi-finalists will qualify for the World Mixed Team Championships in May, where Olympic qualification points will also be on the line.
While the win over Pakistan was expected, He said victory over Taiwan had been instrumental in securing a place in the quarter-finals.
“We changed our team combination to make women’s player Ng Tsz-yau start in both the doubles and mixed doubles against Taiwan, and as a result the mixed doubles became the first tie while the women’s doubles started last in the best-of-five match,” said the coach.
“Ng did not let us down with the victory in the opening mixed doubles and following the success in the next men’s singles, we created a comfortable 2-0 lead which put the opponents under pressure as they could not offer losing any more.”