BIRMINGHAM, Aug 3 — The stunning performance of the country’s lead men’s singles player Ng Tze Yong in the final of the mixed team event was the starting point for Malaysia’s glorious success in reclaiming the gold by defeating defending champions India 3-1 at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games last night.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria was very impressed by the high fighting spirit shown by the player ranked 42 in the world to pull of an upset against former world number one Kidambi Srikanth, winning in 21-19, 6-21, 21-16, thus contributing Malaysia’s second point in the final held at Hall 5 of the National Exhibition Centre, here.
“Tze Yong rose to the occasion by performing very well and the momentum was continued by our women’s doubles Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah who defeated Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand Pullela, 21-18, 21-17 to gift this incredible feat (the gold medal).
“It must be remembered that we were the underdogs before the final and not favourites, but we managed to prove that nothing is impossible,” he told reporters after the medal presentation ceremony.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s doubles bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik delivered Malaysia’s first point when they defeated India’s top men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty 21-18, 21-15.
Mohamad Norza noted that the national players seem to have learned from the mistakes at the Thomas Cup 2022 in Bangkok, last May, which saw the importance of stealing points from the singles camp as Tze Yong did yesterday.
Malaysia, who lost 2-3 to India in the quarter-finals of the 2022 Thomas Cup, saw two of the country’s three singles players fail to deliver points then, resulting in them failing to end a 30-year title drought in the most prestigious world team badminton tournament.
Mohamad Norza was also proud to see the line of young shuttlers avenge the painful 3-1 defeat to India in the 2018 Gold Coast edition, with the Indian players surprising the country’s senior players led by legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
“In 2018, India who were lined up with young players like Srikanth and the doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty defeated our senior shuttlers but today’s achievement is like a revenge by our youngsters,” he said.
As such, Mohamad Norza, who is also Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, said solid support is needed from all parties to ensure that the current young players can experience more proud success in two to three years from now.
In the meantime, he also admitted that the burden carried by the badminton squad at this prestigious sports meet is now less after delivering Malaysia’s third gold so far.
However, he stated that the national badminton players who are seen as still hungry for success are expected to be able to give their best performance in the individual events after this, thus helping BAM meet the target of two golds that needs to be achieved here.
The achievements of the country’s badminton squad have seen Malaysia emerge as the country that has won the most gold in the mixed team event at the quadrennial Games, namely in Melbourne in 2006, New Delhi (2010) and Glasgow (2014). — Bernama