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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 23:15 GMT 00:15 UK

Singapore to do Welsh homework

By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport Online at Bolton Arena

Sunday's mixed team match against Wales will be more than a group stage decider for Singapore.

The tiny Asian nation intend to use it as a 'dress rehearsal' for next week's singles competition at the Commonwealth Games.

They are set to play fourth-seeded Wales in the last of their round robin group matches on Sunday afternoon.

Singapore best medal hope in the women's singles, Chinese-born Li Li, is likely to face defending singles champion Kelly Morgan in the team event, while Ronald Susilo will face Welsh star Richard Vaughan.

But both sets of players could meet again in the singles events, which start next Wednesday.

"Li Li definitely has the potential to be the surprise package for the women's title"
Jacqueline Kim
Singapore team manager

"Yes, we'll be using the match against Wales as a warm-up," said Singapore team manager Jacqueline Kim.

"It will be a good chance for Li Li and Ronald to study Morgan and Vaughan.

Li-Li, who moved to Singapore in 1997, is seeded seventh in the singles event and could be hard to handle for second seed Morgan, who seeking to retain her Commonwealth title.

"Li Li definitely has the potential to be the surprise package in the women's title," said Kim.

Susilo, seeded ninth, could face fourth seed Vaughan in the quarter-final of the men's tournament if everything goes to plan.

Certainly, a showdown in the mixed team competition could give the Singapore players crucial experience and lead to a much-needed medal next week.

Singapore are also seeded in the mixed team event and stand a good chance of going through to the semi-final stages if they can upset Wales on Sunday.

Otherwise it will be up to their individual players, when the singles and doubles events start on Wednesday.

Since their first appearance at the Games in 1962, Singapore have collected just nine medals - including four golds, with all but one of those coming in weightlifting.

Their team of 26 athletes returned home empty-handed last time around.

"We aim to do well this time around," Kim explained.

"This is a big competition for us, the next biggest thing to the Olympics, so it would be fantastic to get our first ever Commonwealth Games medal in badminton."

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