Shuttlers end Norza’s sleepless nights

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria had sleepless nights after the mixed team final defeat to India last Sunday.

But yesterday, he was wearing a smile after the curtain came down on the Commonwealth Games and badminton delivered two gold medals through Lee Chong Wei and Chow Mei Kuan-Vivian Hoo.

Chong Wei defeated K. Srikanth of India 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 in the men’s singles while Mei Kuan-Vivian downed Lauren Smith-Sarah Walker of England 21-12, 21-12 in the women’s doubles at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

“I’m proud of the performance of Chong Wei and Mei Kuan-Vivian. They delivered under tremendous pressure,” said Norza.

“Vivian-Mei Kuan are not seeded while Chong Wei was up against a player 11 years younger than him. He had to fight India’s No. 12 player (H.S. Prannoy, semi-finals) and world No. 1 (Srikanth, final).

“It was a big task for Chong Wei but as usual, he never disappoints us. He is indeed a role model to all.

“The resilience and leadership shown by Chong Wei made the difference for us,” he said.

If Chong Wei and Mei Kuan-Vivian had lost yesterday, Malaysia would have ended the 28th Games without a badminton gold medal for the first time.

An emotional Norza admitted that it had been a stressful time.

“There was pressure on badminton to deliver after our mixed team lost. I’m proud of the players as they made this Games better than Glasgow (2014). I congratulate them all.”

Norza said they would review the performance of top seeds Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie after both pairs failed to live up to their top billing.

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June Wei bags first-ever senior title in third final appearance

Chong Wei gets standing ovation for helping country meet gold target

Norza Zakaria , BAM