Olympic Champions Show Grit to Snatch Asian Games Gold

Olympic champion Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia had to save two championship points before beating defending Asian Games champions Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia 16-21, 26-24, 21-19 in the men’s doubles final on Saturday.

Kido-Setiawan, who have had a disappointing year by their own admission, had to dig deep to avenge their 2006 Asian Games semi-final lost to the Malaysian pair. They were staring defeat in the face but their ability to turn adversity into triumph was what won them the day in this 58-minute battle.

The Indonesians have not won a Super Series title this year while the only tournament they have won was the YONEX-SUNRISE Malaysiann Open Grand Prix Gold 2010 in July but their victory means they have now won the three biggest titles in men’s doubles as they also won the 2007 World Championships and the 2008 Olympic Games.

The victory also vindicated the duo’s decision to break away from the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI).

“We didn’t have much preparation for the Asian Games but we proved we can still be among the top pairs in the world,” said a delighted Setiawan, who along with Kido, have been training on their own since the split with PBSI.

The Malaysian pair, who were hoping to emulate Ng Boon Bee-Tan Yee Khan as the only Malaysians to successful defend the Asian Games badminton gold, will surely rue the two missed opportunities to seal victory.

The pairs had fought tooth and nail right from the opening serve and the score was tied at 16-16 before the Malaysians won five points in a row to take the first game.

Lifted by the opening win, the Malaysians continued pressing the Indonesians and opened up an 8-4 lead, only to be pecked back at 12-12. They then had two chances at 21-20 and 23-22 to wrap but the title but fell 26-24.

It was the Indonesians who were now on the front foot as they raced to a 14-9 lead. Kien Keat-Boon Heong, however, won seven of the next nine points to make it 16-16 but the Indonesians found an extra gear to clinch the rubber 21-19.

“They played well and were more daring than us. They took their chances well,” said Boon Heong.

Kien Keat said: “We gave it our all and it’s disappointing to settle for silver. It should have been better. But overall, we do not regret with the way we played in losing the match.”

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