GLASGOW: National women’s doubles shuttlers Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo were the underdogs going into the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
But they surely have given Malaysian women’s badminton a big boost after their excellent comeback win over defending champions Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa of India to bag the gold medal at the Emirates Arena on Sunday.
The Malaysians were trailing 16-20 in the second game but showed great determination, skill and mental strength to dethrone the Indians.
Thanks to their feat, Malaysia are now back as gold medal winners in the Games series. The two previous women’s doubles gold medallists were Ang Li Peng-Lim Pek Siah (2002 Manchester Games) and Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty (2006 Melbourne Games).
But Khe Wei-Vivian, who train under Rosman Razak, have defied the odds before. Last year, they surprised everyone by winning the gold medal at the Myanmar SEA Games after beating top pairs from Indonesia and Singapore.
Khe Wei, 25, and Vivian, 24, have both shown maturity in the game – displaying class, better strategy and more attacking variations since winning the 2011 Indonesian Open Grand Prix title.
If Khe Wei can stay clear of injuries and Vivian continues to stay rock solid, they stand a chance of even challenging for a medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016.
For this year, the duo have two more majors left – the World Championships in Copenhagen from Aug 25-31 and the Asian Games in September in Incheon, South Korea.
"It was great to win at the Commonwealth Games but we know that the world meet and Asiad will be even more challenging,” said Vivian.
"With China, South Korea and Denmark having established pairs, we need to raise our game even further.
“But one thing is for sure, the win in Glasgow has only whetted our appetite for more."
Khe Wei-Vivian are not the only women shuttlers to have done Malaysia proud at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Debutants Lai Pei Jing, Lim Yin Loo and Tee Jing Yi should also be commended for their gutsy performances.
Pei Jing-Yin Loo upset top seeds Shina Mulia Sari-Yao Lei of Singapore in the women’s doubles semi-finals of the individual competition while Jing Yi played her part by clinching the winning point for Malaysia in the mixed team event.
Pei Jing also played in the mixed doubles with Chan Peng Soon and surpassed all expectations by handling herself well on court. She had to play four matches in one day (during the semi-finals and bronze medal playoffs on Saturday) but stayed steady through it all.
What was obvious from the Glasgow Games is that these women players have courage, determination, good team spirit and the will to prove themselves.
If they can further hone their skills, the women’s team can make a greater impact in the world of badminton.