By Mark Etheridge
South Africa may have lost all three of their group matches at badminton’s Sudirman Cup in China but there’s still some good news for the code.
They have lost to Turkey, Czech Republic and Austria and now play Italy in a ranking match on Friday.
‘We play in the afternoon (SA time) for a ranking for a world team ranking of 27/28,’ coach Chris Dednam told Road to Rio 2016 from Dongguan.
‘Either way, this will be South Africa’s highest ranking ever, as our previous best was 29. I’m very proud of the team and their achievement if you consider that 180 countries are part of the Badminton World Federation.’
SA lost both their first two matches on a 3-2 scoreline with the men’s doubles combo of Wiaan Viljoen and Andries Malan and singles expert Jacob Maliekal bringing in the points for the Rainbow Nation
Against Austria they went down 4-1 and this time it was the women’s doubles who got SA on the board.
‘I played our other women’s double combination and they did very well to win their match. All the other games were also very tight and could have gone our way.’
That combination was Michelle Butler-Emmett and Elme de Villiers who beat Janine Lais and Nathalie Ziesig in thee games, 19-21 21-5 21-19.
Looking forward and Dednam says: ‘This achievement will boost the confidence of the players as we prepare for the Mauritius International tournament taking place next month where they will hunt valuable world ranking points for Olympic Qualification as well as to prepare for the African Games.’