The national badminton players celebrate after winning the mixed team gold medal, beating England in the final at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. - GLENN GUAN/ The Star
GLASGOW: Malaysia shuttlers, led by Chong Wei Feng, are highly motivated to enjoy a golden harvest in the individual competition after becoming the best mixed team at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
On Monday, Malaysia – deprived of the services of injured top star Lee Chong Wei – did not disappoint when they battled hard against England for a 3-1 victory to earn the gold medal at the Emirates Arena.
It was Malaysia’s third consecutive mixed team gold in the Games. They also won it at the 2006 Melbourne Games and 2010 New Delhi Games.
In Monday’s final, Malaysia dropped the first match when mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Lai Pei Jing lost 14-21, 26-28 to Chris Adcock-Gabrille Adcock.
The defeat only fuelled the fire in the rest of the Malaysian shuttlers and they bounced back to win the next three matches – through Wei Feng (men’s singles), Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men’s doubles) and Tee Jing Yi (women’s singles).
The scrawny Wei Feng had to dig deep into his reserves to beat the towering Rajiv Ouseph 21-17, 19-21, 21-19 while V Shem-Wee Kiong put up a gallant fight to down Adcock-Andrew Ellis 21-19, 21-17.
Jing Yi clinched the winning point after beating Sara Walker 21-16, 21-17 in the women’s singles.
Wei Feng said that their strong performances in the team event had boosted their confidence to do well in the individual events, which will end on the same day as the closing ceremony on Sunday.
“It was a huge test for me against Rajiv. He surprised me by playing well. Fortunately, I hung on till the end. The experience of playing in the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals really helped us …we were united as a team,” said Wei Feng.
“This will only spur us to do well in the individual events.
“In the men’s singles, I’m the shortest and I lack the power … but I use other ways to overcome my opponents,” said top seed Wei Feng, who will also have to keep an eye on three Indians – K. Srikanth, P. Kashyap and R.M.V Gurusaidutt – besides Ouseph.
V Shem and Wee Kiong can also add to the medal tally for Malaysia in the men’s doubles individual event.
An upbeat national coach Jeremy Gan believes that Malaysia have a chance to win medals in every individual event – with the men’s singles and doubles being the best bets for gold medals.
“Our turning point in the mixed team event was the win over Singapore. They had the most depth. I’m glad that our players did not allow the pressure to get to them in the final,” said Jeremy.
“Malaysia have a chance to win big but they can also miss out on the gold medals if they take their opponents lightly. The standard is about the same and I hope our players will deliver again.”
At the last Games in New Delhi, Malaysia won four golds - mixed team, men’s singles (Lee Chong Wei), men’s doubles (Tan Boon Heong-Koo Kien Keat) and mixed doubles (Kien Keat-Chin Eei Hui).