TOKYO, July 27 — National women’s singles shuttler Soniia Cheah’s Olympic debut was a muted affair after her opponent, Laura Sarosi of Hungary pulled out due to an injury today.

World number 35 Soniia’s opening Group N match against world number 74 Laura was supposed to begin at 2 pm local time (1 pm Malaysian time) at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza here.

The withdrawal was confirmed by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary-general Datuk Nazifuddin Najib and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann, when contacted.

Despite the walkover, Soniia must still win her match against world number six Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand on Wednesday (July 28) to advance to the knockout stage.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian said she was unable to compete today after suffering a partial Achilles tendon rupture during her 5-21, 10-21 loss to Ratchanok on Sunday (July 25).

“I suffered a partial Achilles tendon rupture, which did not affect me at that time but, after that, I was in a lot of pain and had a haemorrhage around my heel and Achilles.

“The medical staff of the Hungarian Olympic Committee did everything (to ensure) I could play today, but my current condition does not allow it, and I would risk aggravating it.

“Even so, a good couple of weeks’ rest and rehabilitation awaits me. I’m very disappointed. Thank you all for your support, it means a lot,” she posted on her Instagram account.

Meanwhile, Soniia also took to Instagram to show her caring side, saying: “I feel for you as I had the same injury, wish you a speedy recovery Laura Sarosi.”

The 28-year-old Soniia ruptured her Achilles tendon in 2013 and had to undergo multiple surgeries related to the injury.


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