Malaysia break Indian hearts
Malaysia won the gold medal of the Commonwealth Games mixed team event when they defeated hosts India 3-1 at the Siri Fort Stadium in New Delhi.
The mixed team gold medal is Malaysia’s third in the history of Commonwealth Games having won the event in Manchester 2002 and Melbourne four years ago. England beat Singapore 3-1 to take the bronze in an earlier tie.
“This somewhat makes up for our disappointment at the Thomas Cup although some may say this is only the Commonwealth,” said Malaysian coach Misbun Sidek.
“I am impressed with the performance of Wong Mew Choo as she displayed true grit in her match tonight. Despite her hard work, Mew Choo was beaten in three games by India’s World No 3, Saina Nehwal.
“It is a good win and gives the players added confidence going into the individual events tomorrow.”
Malaysia drew first blood when mixed doubles pairing of Koo Kien Keat/Chin Ee Hui defeated the more fancied Indian pair of V. Diju/Jwala Gutta.
The Malaysian pair raced to a 12-6 lead in the first game and never looked back as Jwala was clearly not in the game, making numerous mistakes to hand easy points to her opponents.
Koo/Chin won the first game in 12 minutes and the home fans at the Siri Fort Stadium were stunned.
Jwala/Diju went into the offensive from the start of the second game as the Malaysians trailed 4-6 and then 8-11 going into the break. Koo/Chin could not gauge their shots with the wind behind their backs and sent several shots over the baseline.
The Indian pair capitalised on this and increased their advantage, racing to a 18-10 lead before wrapping up the game 21-10 in 18 minutes.
Stunned by the setback, Koo/Chin got their act together and went ahead 7-3 in the decider but the Indians narrowed the deficit to 7-5. However the Malaysian pair were undeterred and won 21-10 in just 14 minutes to put Malaysia 1-0 in the lead.
Next up was Lee Chong Wei who took on Indian youngster P. Kashyap, who was fielded instead of Chetan Anand.
And the 23 year old fought the World No 1 point for point and even led 13-9 at one stage. But his lack of experience let him down as Chong Wei won the first game 21-18 in 19 minutes.
It was a stroll in the park for Chong Wei in the second game as he won 21-7 in just under 13 minutes to give Malaysia a 2-0 lead.
“I played a patient game as I knew he will come out attacking as that is his style of play,” said Chong Wei.
“It is good to have contributed a point to the team and I now look forward to the singles title. It will not be as easy as some may think as lower ranked players tend to raise their game against me.”
The Wong Mew Choo v Saina Nehwal match was a thriller as the Malaysian was the underdog and was not expected to pose much of a challenge for the World No 3.
But Mew Choo had other ideas as she gave it her best shot. Despite Saina leading all the way, Mew Choo kept within distance and took the lead for the first time at 19-18.
Mew Choo had four chances to finish off the game but each time Saina hung in there. But eventually Mew Choo won the first game 26-24 in 23 minutes.
The second game was once again an energy sapping affair with Saina having the edge. She eventually won the second 21-17 to force a third game.
Saina led to an 11-9 lead at the break in the third. And try as she did, Mew Choo was too drained out to mount a creditable challenge as she lost 14-21 and India were back in the hunt.
However, any possibility of an upset by India was snuffed out by Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong who defeated Sanave Thomas/Rupesh Kumar 21-12, 21-19 and give Malaysia, once again, the gold medal.