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Badminton team bring back gold and silver medals
- Updated: June 19, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
The South African badminton team returned from the Mauritius International tournament with a gold and silver medal… and with more valuable points in the race for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Commonwealth Games competitors Andries Malan and Jennifer Fry (pictured above) won gold in the mixed doubles, the only African players who won a title at this tournament.
And Malan was in the medals again as him and Wiaan Viljoen won silver in the men’s doubles.
Malan and Fry beat the Mauritian line-up of Sahir Edoo and Yeldy Louison, coming through 21-18 21-16 while Malan and Viljoen went down 21-19 21-12 to the Indian combo of Shlok Ramchandran and Sanyam Shukla.
‘This win earns Andries and Jennifer valuable points before competing in the World Champs in August,’ said national coach Chris Dednam. ‘They are starting to become a very good combination.
‘Andries and Wiaan also had a very good win over Guatemala in the semi-finals and also earned good points for Rio qualification so I would say it was a successful tournament for these two couples.’
In the singles event SA’s top-ranked singles player, Jacob Maliekal, went out in the round of 16, losing to India’s Harsheel Dani of India. ‘Jacob lost in three hard sets (21-23 21-19 21-9). I reckon he could have won this game had he gained his rhythm a bit better. He could have earned more world ranking points that he needs so badly. Now he’ll participate in Kazakhstan and Nigeria next month.’
In terms of ranking Maliekal is now the highest ranked men’s singles player in Africa with 141 points, ahead of Nigeria’s Edwin Ekiring (163). ‘To qualify for Rio he needs to stay ahead and also end in the world’s top 100 by the end of the qualification period.
Malan and Fry are also the continent’s top ranked mixed doubles team with 132 points just ahead of Egypt’s Abdelrahm Kashkal and Hadia Hosny (139). And in the men’s doubles Malan and Viljoen share the same honour (104 points) from Kashkal and Ali Ahmed El Khateeb (176)
‘Jacob, Wiaan and Andries will participate in the Lagos International during July for more world ranking points while the two teams will be in action at August’s World Championships in Indonesia.
A jubilant Jenny Fry said: ‘I’m very happy to have won! We played some good games before the final too. I thought the final would be very tough but we played really well. It just felt like we were on fire! Andries played excellently, and supported me so well that I had not one bit of doubt in my mind that we would win.
‘In my opinion, the final was won quite convincingly with 21-18 21-16 and the game was pretty straight forward. Our next tournament is World Championships in Jakarta and this was a great build up for that.’