KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei gave the thumbs up to the badminton squad that wrested the Commonwealth Games gold medal from defending champions India in the final of the mixed team event.
The former world number one who had bagged numerous titles throughout his illustrious career, including three silver medals in the Olympics, said he was mesmerized by the performances of the young players who showcased a lot of maturity and determination during the competition.
Chong Wei said the 3-1 win over India in Birmingham would provide a major boost to the country's confidence at major games in the coming years.
"Everyone played exceptionally well. It is a good start for the young team. We lost to India four years ago but managed to wrest the title in the second biggest games after the Olympics. More importantly, the Jalur Gemilang was hoisted and the 'Negaraku' will be heard,” he said.
At the 2018 edition held at the Gold Coast, Australia, the Malaysian mixed team which included Chong Wei, suffered an unexpected 1-3 to India.
Chong Wei said picking Ng Tze Yong as the first singles player to replace Lee Zii Jia was the right decision as he played a very determined game to repay that confidence.
"Tze Yong displayed an aggressive game and was in top form because beating K. Srikanth, the former world number one is not easy...he must now use the experience and stay focused to face the challenges in other big tournaments.
"The fans however must give him some space because he cannot win all the time. There will be times when players lose. We must understand that badminton players will go through a step-by-step process when competing in tournaments,” he said.
In the final against Srikanth, Tze Yong who is ranked 42nd in the world, overcame the Indian 21-19, 6-21, 21-16 to give Malaysia the second point.
Chong Wei also gave credit to Goh Jin Wei for putting up a fighting display against former world number one P. V. Sindhu, before losing 20-22, 17-21.
Malaysia's first point was earned by Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik who edged Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty 21-18, 21-15 in the men's doubles while Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah teamed up to clinch the winning point with a 21-18, 21-17 win over Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Puella.
With the win yesterday in Birmingham, Malaysia becomes the country with the highest number of gold medals from the mixed team event after having won in Melbourne 2006, New Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014. - Bernama