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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK

Kiwis off to a flier

Second seeds New Zealand made an impressive start to the mixed team badminton competition with back-to-back victories at the Bolton Arena.

The Kiwis followed up a 5-0 thrashing of Mauritius with a repeat against the Seychelles to leave them in a dominant position in
Group D.

"It was a good start for us. We were a bit tentative early on but once we were used to the conditions we played really well," said New Zealand manager Grant Stone.

Favourites England beat Nigeria 5-0 without dropping a game in their first Group A outing, although Ola Fagbemi gave Mark Constable a good fight in the men's singles.

England's evening match was cancelled after Trinidad and Tobago withdrew from the team event because their travel arrangements meant they would not arrive in time.

Third seeds Scotland raced to a 5-0 victory against the Maldives as the weaker nations struggled to make an impact.

And fourth-ranked Wales produced a clean sweep against Ghana and then Barbados, with Richard Vaughan and Kelly Morgan failing to drop a point in their afternoon singles games.

Singapore, who are fancied to give Wales problems in Group C, warmed up with an easy win against Botswana.

Welsh coach Chris Rees said: "It was a good performance. We didn't lose any games or many points, but the main team in the group are Singapore and that is the match we are focusing on."

Northern Ireland started well with a 4-1 victory over the Seychelles.

But they were brought straight back to earth as India completed a 5-0 demolition to send out a message to the Kiwis in Group D.

By far the closest contest in the early round of matches was between Barbados and Botswana.

Botswana fought back after losing both singles to win the women's doubles.

But Barbados pair Andre Padmore and Kevin Wood squeezed home 3-2 in the men's doubles before another win in the mixed sealed a 4-1 victory.


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