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Badminton side beat Ireland in Games warm-up

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By Mark Etheridge

Our Commonwealth Games badminton side has had a confidence-boosting victory against the Irish national side in Galway, Ireland.

The South African side ended up triumphing 3-2, an excellent victory ahead of their Commonwealth campaign.

The Irish team are ranked far higher than South Africa in the world rankings and this result is proof that the South African squad’s jet-setting in recent months, to cram in ever more experience, is paying off.

The Irish team consisted of many Magees, well, three in all: Chloe, Sam and Joshua, with Jennie King making up the numbers.

Said SA coach Stewart Carson: ‘Sam and Chloe are top players, so this was a strong team, there is no doubt.’

Malaysia based Jacob Maliekal was first up against Joshua Magee and won 21-11 21-18. Then Elme de Villiers won her match 21-18 2-14.

‘The mixed doubles of Wiaan Viljoen and Andries Malan played brilliantly and won 16-21 21-19 21-12.’

The coach was a happy man. ‘This is the best I’ve seen this pair play! We lost the women’s doubles but once again this is the best I’ve seen Jennifer Fry and Sandra le Grange play despite them losing 21-11 21-17.’

There was a late injury scare for Fry in the warm-up for the mixed doubles as she twisted her ankle. ‘So we replaced her and it was Le Grange and Malan who played the Magees (Sam and Chloe who are ranked 37th in the world) and they lost 21-11 21-17.

Carson is in buoyant frame after the warm-up game. ‘This young SA team has been getting great match practice over the last few days in Dublin in preparation for the Games.

‘It has been really good for them as they are playing against new players and in a new venue, which is really important for their preparation and experience.

‘After this performance I’m really looking forward to the Games and seeing this team in action.┬áWe will see how Jennifer’s ankle is today and take it from there. I’m hoping it is not too bad. She saw the doctors and they didn’t think it was too serious.’

Viljoen told Road to Rio 2016: ‘We put up a very good performance, given that their players are very strong with their No 1 lady also being an Olympian. It felt great to win and show good improvement … feeling confident for the Games.’


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