Vietnamese player Nguyen Tien Minh ​ (middle) at the draw of the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships. (Photo: thethaovietnam.vn) 

Hanoi (VNA)
- Vietnam is placed in Group C, along with Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, after a draw of the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships, which is slated to be played on February 14-19 in HCM City.

Thirteen countries will vie for the honour of being Asia’s best mixed team.

The host team will field its most outstanding players, including former world No 5 Nguyen Tien Minh, who now sits at No 42 for men’s singles, Vu Thi Trang, world women’s singles No 38, and Nguyen Thi Sen, No 61 for women’s doubles, along with Trang.

To have a chance to advance to the next round, Vietnam must secure second place after the group stage. This means that they have to defeat the Philippines, who are not considered a strong rival.

“Japan, the tournament No 3 seed, is the prominent champion favourite, with a strong team featuring the Rio 2016 gold medalist duo Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi, and the world’s No 6 female player, Akane Yamaguchi,” Vietnam’s coach, Nguyen The Huy, said after the draw.

“Thailand IS also much stronger than us, and we will try to win at least a victory against the Philippines.”

Group A consists of top candidate China, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei; Group B is comprised of Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka; and Group D includes No 2 the Republic of Korea, India and Singapore.

China has shown their intention of winning the inaugural event by naming a strong team.
Leading the 16-member team is men’s doubles Olympic champion Zhang Nan. He will be accompanied by Zheng Siwei, Cheng Qingchen and Jia Yifan.

Qingchen won the mixed doubles title with Siwei, and the women’s doubles crown with Yifan, at last month’s World Super Series Finals in Dubai.

French Open champion Shi Yuqi will lead the battle of the men’s singles, while hopes are high on He Bingjiao, the winner of the Japan Open and French Open, world No 4 Sun Yu and reigning world junior champion Chen Yufei of the women’s singles.

The championships, being held at the Nguyen Du Gymnasium, will be broadcast live in nine countries and territories, and will be live-streamed on social media to reach viewers worldwide.-VNA