S. KISONA fought like a tigress – and then cried like a baby.The 21-year-old who had been like an Amazon on court showed she was human after all when she fell in the arms of coach Tey Seu Bock and cried uncontrollably.
It was understandable. After all, she had just won the gold and no one had given her a ghost of a chance at the start of the Games.
Kisona, the world No. 104, was selected to compete in the individual competition alongside Soniia Cheah only after Goh Jin Wei came down with a stomach ailment.
But the lass from Negri Sembilan proved she was no pushover throughout the competition and capped off her fairytale run with a battling come-from-behind 20-22,21-14,21-13 win over Indonesia’s Ruselli Hartawan at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex yesterday.
“It’s surreal, ” said Kisona, who took nearly five minutes to settle before speaking to the media.
“This is my career’s finest moment. I have never felt as overwhelmed as this all my life.”
Despite being labelled as a no-hoper before the Games, Kisona said she had tasked herself with keeping the flag flying high and filling the void left by Jin Wei.
“My coaches didn’t set me any target, but I was very determined from the start that I wanted to put up a good show. In a tournament, anything can happen, I always believe in that and, most importantly, never gave up.
“That’s why I will always try to retrieve shots no matter how hard. As long as the shuttle is in play, I still stand a chance of winning.”
What Kisona achieved was nothing short of remarkable considering the Badminton Association of Malaysia had even reduced their initial two-gold medal target to just one, citing Jin Wei’s absence.
Meanwhile, the gold has eluded mixed doubles pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie again after they lost narrowly 19-21,21-19,21-23 to top seeds Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia.
Soon Huat-Shevon, the Kuala Lumpur 2017 silver medallists, had only themselves to blame for failing to take advantage of the two leads they held, at 7-2 and 19-17, in the rubber game.
While Shevon looked solid and sharp on the front court, Soon Huat looked out of sorts and gave away a lot of points cheaply by sending the shuttle to the net.
“We cannot describe how disappointed we are with yet another final defeat, “ said a dejected Shevon.
“I don’t think we should feel regret because we gave our opponents a really good fight. Both sides were nervous towards the end but it was Praveen and Melati who handled the situation better.”
Soon Huat said: “It’s disappointing to lose this way because we played really well at the start. I wanted to win so much but I succumbed to the pressure.”