By Mark Etheridge
South Africa have gone down to Denmark in their opening Thomas Cup encounter in China.
Playing in Group D, the South Africans lost 5-0 to the second seeded Scandinavian side.
‘Denmark have got some of the world’s top players and our experienced players, Jacob Maliekal (in picture), Wian Viljoen and Andries Malan, played very well against them,’ said national coach Chris Dednam.
‘Our new cap, Cameron Coetzer is learning a lot and gaining some valuable experience for the future.’
South Africa’s other Group opponents are Chinese Taipei and New Zealand.
‘Tomorrow we play Chinese Taipei and Wednesday against New Zealand. I think we can do well against New Zealand when the African champions meet the Oceania champs.’
South Africa are seeded 15th for the tournament while New Zealand are 16th.
Singles expert Jacob Maliekal, pictured above, is the only South African who has qualified for the Rio Olympics later this year.
Results of the SA v Denmark clash:
MS1 – Viktor Axelsen (DEN) bt Jacob Maliekal (SA) 21-14 21-11
MS2 – Jan O Jorgensen (DEN) bt Cameron Coetzer (SA) 21-9 21-9 1-0
MS3 – Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) bt Andries Malan (SA) 21-7 21-7
MD1 – Mads Conrad-Pettersen/ Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN) bt Andries Malan/ Wian Viljoen (SA) 21-8 21-17
MD2 – Kim Astrup/ Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (DEN) bt Cameron Coetzer/ Jacob Maliekal (SA) 21-13 21-16