Unseeded Kate-Tang Tien do Australia proud
Kate Wilson Smith and He Tang Tien secured Australia’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal in badminton since 1998 when they beat England’s Jenny Wallwork/Gabrielle White in the women’s doubles.
The Australians came to New Delhi unseeded, which makes the medal all the more remarkable as their win was over the No 3 seeds.
“This medal means a lot for Australian badminton and we are happy to have contributed it. We just cannot believe that we will be on the podium for the medal presentations tomorrow,” said Kate who is 31 and has played in four Commonwealth Games.
“We really hope that this medal will now be the catalyst for the revival of badminton in Australia as we want more kids to take up the sport.”
It was more remarkable though for Teng Tien, who represented China at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“We decided to pair each other in February this year and I am so happy that it paid dividends here in New Delhi,” said Teng Tien.
The Aussies should have really won the first game as they held two game points, at 20-19 and 22-21 but failed to make it count. And that allowed Jenny and Gabrielle to win the first 23-21.
Midway into the second game, Gabrielle suffered an injury to her hand that required medical attention. The score at that time was 9-4 in favour of the Aussie pair.
More woes followed for the English pair as Jenny was shown the yellow card for dissent at 10-4. The English duo did not recover and went on to lose the second game 12-21.
The English pair held the advantage in the third game, leading 7-2 at one stage but the Australians staged one of the most remarkable comebacks, winning the next eight points to lead 10-7.
They never looked back after securing the lead and jumped for joy after scoring the winning point, with the English looking shell shocked.
But while Jeny and Gabrielle faltered, Elizabeth Cann rose to the occasion to win bronze in the singles, defeating Scotland’s Susan Egelstaff.
For Elizabeth it was sweet revenge as Egelstaff deprived her the bronze medal in Melbourne four years ago.
The men’s singles bronze medal match saw an all-Indian contest with youngster P. Kashyap upstaging the much-fancied Chetan Anand 21-15, 21-18 to take the bronze.
In the men’s doubles, which was an all-Singaporean affair, Hendra Wijaya/Hendri Kurniawan lived up to their billing as they defeated Chayut Triyachart/Derek Wong 23-21, 21-12 to take the bronze.
Meanwhile Singapore’s Chayut Triyachart/Yao Lei defeated Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia 21-14, 17-21, 21-17 to win the bronze medal of the mixed doubles event.
Chayut/Lao started off brightly in the first set, opting to attack the weaker Goh. And their strategy paid off as they went on to win the first set 21-14.
But the Malaysians bounced right back in the second with Chan using his smashes to great advantage. The Malaysians made fewer mistakes and capitalised on the error prone Chayut to clinch the second game 21-17.
Chan/Goh could not sustain the pressure in the third game and lost 21-17 and in the process failed to net the RM20, 000 incentive provided by their government for a bronze medal.