By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s small team of three players have tasted their first bit of action at the BWF World Badminton Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia.
And it’s been a bitter-sweet experience for the trio of Jennifer Fry, Wiaan Wiljoen and Andries Malan.
The tournament is strictly knock-out so there is little in the way of multi-game experience to be gained for the South Africans.
First up were the 136th ranked Fry and Malan who took on Korean ‘couple’ Kai Hsin Chiang and Fang Chien Wu, now ranked 66th in their first round mixed doubles clash on Monday. They went down 21-10 and 21-9.
‘They were really good, a former world No8 ranked couple. It was a really tough game,’ Fry told Road to Rio 2016. They were just too good but we did learn a lot though, picked up were I can improve and Andries also picked up some points of improvement too. I think our court movement as a couple was good though. We worked well together, but the shots they played were just of a higher level that didn’t allow us to get into the game or play our best game.’
Malan teams up with Viljoen in their doubles action on Wednesday after a first round bye and it’s not going to be an easy assignment as they take on top seeded Koreans Yong Dae Lee and Yeon Seong Yoo.
Fry went on to say that World Champions was great on one hand but extremely frustrating on the other ‘Just one game, and as our ranking is not great because we don’t have money to travel to up our ranking, we have the toughest games
‘But we learned so much from that one game and just experiencing this, its just absolutely amazing. But yes, its really frustrating because all we want to do is play!’
There wasn’t even the chance of hooking up with some of the other teams at the event in order to get some much needed court time. ‘A lot of the teams keep to themselves. We wanted to play some games against Scotland but they showed no interest so it was just all a bit unfortunate.’