Malaysia bag silver in men’s doubles, up to Chong Wei to get the gold

V Shem and Wee Kiong go down in a tight third set 21-23. — Reuters pics
V Shem and Wee Kiong go down in a tight third set 21-23. — Reuters pics

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 20 — Malaysia has another silver in the bag, and will just have to wait a few more hours to see if they will finally get that much-longed for Olympic gold.

Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem fell to Fu Haifeng-Zhang Nan in the men’s doubles final netting the silver.

They gave it their all but the Chinese pair won 16-21, 21-11, 23-21.

The two 27-year-old Malaysians had promised to win the gold, but unfortunately fell short despite a valiant effort against foes who were former Olympic and world champions, albeit with different partners.

The Malaysians began slowly before getting their act together. Once they took a 9-8 lead, they never looked back and wrapped up the first game in 20 minutes.

They got too excited in the second game and were left behind by the rampant Chinese who needed 18 minutes to draw level.

Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan, aggressors in the decider.
Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan, aggressors in the decider.

In the decider, the Chinese were once again the aggressors and raced to an early lead before going into the interval 11-8 ahead.

The change of sides worked wonders for the Malaysians and they finally drew level at 12-12 but the Chinese pair upped the pace to inch ahead 13-12.

They temporary lost the lead at 18-17. They then survived two match points as the Malaysians lost their composure to lose 23-21.

It was China’s first badminton gold in Rio, They had swept the board in London but can only win a maximum of two in Brazil after failing in the women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

Our nation took part in the 1956 Melbourne Games as Malaya. Malaya it still was in Rome four years later before the formation of Malaysia in 1963 meant we finally competed under that name from Tokyo in 1964.

We endured barren spells until 1992 when badminton was finally admitted as a medal sport, 20 years after it made its debut as a demonstration sport in Munich.

The Sidek brothers — Razif and Jalani — won our first medal by finishing third in Barcelona in the men’s doubles with younger brother Rashid winning another bronze in the men’s singles four year later in Atlanta.

In that same Games, Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock won silver in the men’s doubles.

Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004) came and went without a medal until Lee captured silver in the men’s singles in Beijing.

In London four years ago, Chong Wei once again won silver in the men’s singles while Pandelela Rinong grabbed a bronze in the 10m platform diving event.

In Rio, Malaysia have so far collected two silvers — Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles), Pandelela-Cheong Jun Hoong (10m platform synchronised) and a bronze from cyclists Azizulhasni Awang in the keirin event.

Lee will hope to finally win gold when he faces Chen Long tonight.

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