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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK

Top nations soar ahead

By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport Online at Bolton Arena

The top badminton nations at the Commonwealth Games flexed the muscles with impressive performances in the mixed team event on Saturday.

The eight seeded teams had little trouble brushing aside their lowly-ranked opposition in what amounted to little more than a warm-up for some major showdowns on Sunday evening.

Except for England and Malaysia in group A, the other seeds are in a deadlock at the top of their groups, having won all their matches by the same margin without conceding a goal.

Favourites England are set for a sizzler against Malaysia in Sunday's last round of group matches, which decide who will go through to the semi-finals on Monday.

Malaysian team coach Park Joo-Bong is not making any rash predictions about the forthcoming encounter.

"It will be very tough to beat England but it should be a very good game," he said.

"Scotland have loads of supporter, so their crowd may outdo ours, but our players are going to outdo their players"
Jane Crabtree

England's 5-0 drubbing of Canada on Saturday night, concluded with Olympic bronze medallists Simon Archer and Jo Goode's win, sealed completed a night of clean sheets for the top seeds.

Singapore and India had set the standard in the opening session.

Despite a spirited performance from Andre Padmore and Curwin Cherubin in the men's doubles, Singapore annihilated lowly Barbados, while India pulled off the same feat against the Seychelles Islands.

In later sessions, Singapore went on to beat Ghana and India won against Mauritius by the same mark.

Singapore must now take on fourth seeds Wales, who had no trouble against lowly Botswana on Saturday.

India must now face number two seeds New Zealand, who whitewashed Northern Ireland in the afternoon.

In group B, Australia showed off their supremacy against Jersey and Maldives, but face third seeds Scotland in the final group encounter.

Commenting on how Australia can beat Scotland, Commonwealth debutant and ladies singles player Jane Crabtree was upbeat.

"Scotland have loads of supporter, so their crowd may outdo ours, but our players are going to outdo their players," she said.

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