Commonwealth Games: S'pore clinch historic badminton mixed doubles gold after beating England in final


Singapore mixed doubles pair Terry Hee and Jessica Tan beat England's Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith 21-16, 21-15. - ST

BIRMINGHAM (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Singapore mixed doubles pair Terry Hee and Jessica Tan clinched a historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Monday (Aug 8), after they beat home favourites Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith 21-16, 21-15 in the final.

Having beaten the English world No. 10s in the badminton mixed team event, the odds of Singapore's world No. 35 pair, who are married to each other, winning were high, but they refused to get ahead of themselves.

The partisan crowd that had arrived at the National Exhibition Centre with England flags cheered the home pair each time they got a point.

And as the 5,000-seater stands began to fill, the support for the home team grew louder.

But there were also supporters for the Singaporeans. Among them were Hee and Tan's teammates as well as a Malaysian fan, who backed the duo with chants of 'Let's go, Singapore, let's go!'

Hee and Tan held their nerve to take the first game 21-16 despite making several mistakes along the way.

But the second game was a lot closer, with the Singaporeans having to claw their way back after trailing at the start.

The English and Singapore pairs exchanged the lead several times, but with the scores level at 11-11, the visitors began to pull away and were able to seal the win.

Hee said: "We cannot believe that we are the Commonwealth Games gold medallists right now, we're still in disbelief.

"It looks comfortable from the score, but I can tell you it was really hard. We really had to focus towards the end, nerves were creeping in. My wife was fighting alongside me, reminding me to stay calm and focused, telling me, 'It's not over yet, let's not think about winning'.

"(So) we focused point by point, and we are really happy with the result."

Tan added: "It feels extraordinary to stand on the podium and sing the national anthem because it's the first time we've managed to win a medal in an individual event at major Games, especially with many Singaporeans supporting us. It means a lot to us."

This is Singapore's first Games gold since Li Li's women's singles title in Manchester in 2002.

In the mixed doubles specifically, the Republic's previous best result in the event was a bronze at the 2006 and 2010 editions of the Games.

Hee and Tan's gold is the nation's third badminton medal at this year's Commonwealth Games. Singapore had clinched a bronze in the mixed team event last week, before Yeo Jia Min added another bronze when she beat Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour in the women's singles third-place play-off on Sunday.

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