Historic gold for India, Malaysia
Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat/Chin Ee Hui and India’s Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnapa created history when they won their nation’s first ever gold medal in Commonwealth Games mixed doubles and women’s doubles respectively.
Koo-Chin defeated top seeds, Nathan Robertson/Jenny Wallwork of England 22-20, 21-12 to win gold, an unexpected result for them given that they were unseeded and were only paired for the Commonwealth Games.
“We were tensed in the opening minutes and thus we conceded easy points,” said Koo.
“They were keeping me away from the net as it was our strong point. But we had to be patient and I am glad that it paid off.
“Now I have to concentrate on getting the gold in the men’s doubles and the schedule has been taxing to say the least. But the fact that its only one match from another gold has me pumped up.”
Koo will also team up with Tan Boon Heong in the men’s doubles final against Robertson and Anthony Clark.
From the English pair’s perspective, the final was decided by only one person, Koo.
“He is an exceptional player and we just were unable to cope up with his pace and experience,” said Jenny.
With the partisan Indian crowd opting to throw their support for the Malaysian pair, it was plain sailing for them despite the fact that they were down 0-5 in the opening minutes.
The fightback started when Koo/Chin were down 8-11 as they hit a purple patch to win the next six points to lead 14-11. The Malaysians then surged ahead to lead 19-15 at one stage before Robertson/Jenny got their act together and leveled the score to 19-19.
The English pair won the next point and had the gamet point but faltered as the Malaysians went on to collect three points to win the first game 22-20 in 18 minutes.
In the second game, once again the Malaysian pair collected nine points on the trot, from being tied 8-8 to lead 17-8, largely due to the error prone Robertson who was not at his usual best.
Koo/Chin went on to clinch the gold, taking the second 21-12 in just 17 minutes.
“I told them to attack Jenny as we knew that she gets tensed when under attack. With her making mistakes, Robertson’s concentration was affected and this was exactly as we planned,” said coach Rexy Mainaky.
“It was a good win as they were unseeded but then again its experience that matters.”
In the women’s doubles final, second seeds, Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnapa upset the top seeded Sari Shinta Mulia/Yao Lei 21-6, 21-19 in 39 minutes to take the gold medal.
Jwala/Ashwini took the first gamet 21-16, not giving the Singapore pair much attacking options as Jwala dominated at the net,
Sari/Yao held the upperhand in the second set, leading 15-12, but the Indian pair fought back and the two pairs were level at 18-18 when controversy broke out.
Jwala served to Sari, but the Singaporean claimed she was not ready. However the umpire awarded the point to the Indian pair. Despite protests and play being held up for five minutes, the point stood and the Indians capitalized to go on and win 21-19 to take gold.