Women shuttlers shamed by Vietnam, men struggle

THE Malaysian women shuttlers suffered a rude shock when they were knocked out of the team event by unfancied Vietnam 3-1.

The Malaysian second liners were a bundle of nerves and had no answer to the Vietnamese challenge yesterday.

The shock began with Siti Nurshuhaini Azman’s surrendering 9-21, 8-21 to Nguyen Thuy Linh in the first singles.

Vu Thi Trang made it 2-0 for the hosts by beating Siti Zulaikha Azmi to pile the pressure on Malaysia.

First doubles Go Pei Kee-Yap Ling delayed the inevitable when they laboured to beat Dinh Thi Phuong Hong-Do Thi Hoai 12-21, 21-15, 21-16 in 76 minutes to make it 2-1.

Third singles Ong Xin Yee was unable to handle the pressure and lost 13-21, 15-21 to Vu Thi Anh Thu to end the campaign.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching and training committee chairman Datuk Kenny Goh said the players were very young but felt they could put up a better resistance.

“The Vietnam players are experienced and have been playing on the international circuit for several years. However, we did not expect our girl to surrender like this,” he said.

In the men’s team, Malaysia stuttered to a 3-1 a win over Vietnam to reach the semi-finals and avoid another embarrassment.

Veteran Nguyen Tien Minh gave Vietnam a rousing start when he defeated jacky Kok Jing Hong 21-14, 24-26, 21-7 in the first singles.

Malaysia drew level through the first doubles when Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun overcame Do Tuan Duc-Pham Hong Nam 21-8, 20-22, 21-7.

Lee Shun Yang defeated Le Duc Phat 21-19, 27-25 in the second singles while second doubles Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Haikal Nazri survived tense moments to take Malaysia into the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory.

Arif-Haikal saved three match points to beat Nguyen Dinh Hoang-Tran Dinh Manh 15-21, 21-12, 22-20 in 65 minutes to save Malaysia the blushes.

Malaysia will have another mountain to climb against the world champion Loh Kean Yew-led Singapore in the last four. Singapore defeated Laos 3-0 to advance.

“The men’s team needs to buck up too as they cannot afford to be shaky against Singapore,” said Kenny.

The Malaysian senior players are not at the SEA Games because they were involved in the just-concluded Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Bangkok.

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