PETALING JAYA: For Goh Liu Ying, to win an Olympic Games medal "is a distant dream.”
But she saw that dream turned into reality on Wednesday, when she stood on the podium to receive her silver medal with Chan Peng Soon in Rio de Janeiro. They were the first Malaysian to reach the final of the mixed doubles badminton.
In her Facebook posting, Goh said she shed tears watching the Jalur Gemilang being raised in the hall as it was a moment she had dreamt of and never thought it could be real.
It has been a hard fought 45-odd minutes in the final faced with the higher-ranked Indonesians Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.
Goh said many had hoped that she and Chan would win Malaysia’s first Olympic gold but admitted “we were not able to put up a good fight.”
Goh recalled being among the first national mixed doubles players at a time when attention were focussed on the men’s and women’s singles and doubles.
She and Chan even made it to No. 3 in the world ranking.
But for the sake of achieving badminton and Olympic glory, the 27-year-old underwent two knee surgeries in 2014 which forced her out for nearly a year, resuming training only in March last year. Their ranking fell to 281.
The climb back to the top had been steady and she and Chan managed to perform at top level, bagging several open tournaments last season.
In Rio, the target for her and Chan had been to perform well in the group stages.
Then they found themselves in the semi-finals facing one of China’s top pair and Goh thought “we may have a chance for a bronze medal.”
But they won that tough semi-final and “I felt like it is a dream.”
“Did I really win? Is this not a dream? I have dreamt for many times how great a feeling it would be to be able to stand on the podium,” she wrote on her Facebook.
Goh recalled that were many doubles pairs that were “better than us.”
“I am just Goh Liu Ying. I do not have the remarkable achievements of the Chinese, the steady performance of the Koreans, I did not have the tactical strategy of the Europeans or the experience of the Indonesian team. I am just Goh Liu Ying.
“I was not born an athlete. Others complete the training set by the coach, I could only do half.
“I couldn't build up muscles like the other athletes. Smaller muscles, there is less protection and increasing my chances of getting injured.
“As I have undergone surgery, I could not over exert during training. The strength in my legs is less than the others.
“I am Goh Liu Ying. I am the Rio Olympics badminton silver medalist. This will make me proud for the rest of my life.”