When Tee Jing Yi delivered the winning point for Malaysia – in the mixed team final against England on Monday – the rest of the national shuttlers rushed onto the court to celebrate with her at the packed Emirates Arena.
And, together, they jumped and danced in sheer joy.
Jing Yi certainly lived up to expectations – beating debutant Sara Walker 21-16, 21-17 to help Malaysia beat England 3-1 and defend the mixed team title.
“I am so happy that I clinched the winning point but I know that I did not make it easy for myself,” said Jing Yi, who is more experienced than Walker.
“I got nervous when she tried to catch up in the second game. Fortunately, I stayed focused. I kept telling myself to keep my emotions in check.
“This victory means a lot to our team. Hopefully, we will do well in the individual competition too.
Jing Yi and her team-mates all wore black armbands as a sign of respect for the victims of MH17 plane crash.
Before Jing Yi’s heroics, Malaysia had taken a 2-1 lead.
Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Lai Pei Jing put up a creditable show before going down fighting to world No. 5 Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock 14-21, 26-28.
Said Peng Soon: “I made many errors today. We could have pushed them into the decider if I had been more alert. But I was confident my team-mates would pull us through.”
Luckily for him, debutant Chong Wei Feng did just that. He levelled the score to 1-1 – but not before having to dig deep into his reserves to beat a stubborn Rajiv Ouseph 21-17, 19-21, 21-19 in 71 minutes.
“He was so tall and had good court coverage. I did not buckle despite constant pressure from him. Today, I was mentally stronger to handle the situation and managed to turn the situation in the decider,” said Wei Feng.
“It was important for me to win to boost the morale of the team and I’m glad that I did.”
In the men’s doubles, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong gave a spirited showing to beat Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis 21-19, 21-17.
“The English pair are strong and very consistent and, today, they kept pace with us and gave us a good fight. We did well to counter all their attacks and we are feeling happy that we contributed a point for our team,” said Wee Kiong.
The strong showing by the Malaysian team has raised hopes of more medals when the individual events start on Tuesday.