While hardly a huge surprise it was nonetheless a weight lifted off of the Malaysia team’s shoulders today when they secured yet another team event gold medal. Looking back on the history of the games we see only England and Malaysia have ever taken the team title.
The event started out with Malaysia’s doubles super star Koo Kien Keat partnering up with Chin Ee Hui in the mixed doubles against Jwala Gutta and Diju Valiya Veetil. This was an important match for Malaysia to win since their strength lies in their men’s team, and a loss in the mixed would put them in serious danger. However, in spite of going to three games the Malaysian pair managed to pull out the win 21-14, 10-21, 21-10 to secure the first point in the tie.
Perhaps the most assured win for Malaysia would come from the men’s singles with world number 1 Lee Chong Wei taking on Kashyap Parupalli. A surprising choice by the India team to field Parupalli as he is India’s third ranked singles player behind both Chetan Anand and Arvind Bhat at number 32 in the world. Regardless the Indian shuttler faired well against Lee in the first game posting a 21-18 score and seemed a legitimate threat. However, in the second game he failed to maintain the same pressure and was easily disposed of 21-7 putting Malaysia up 2-0 in the tie.
The only loss of the day came at the hands of India’s superstar women’s singles player Saina Nehwal who also happens to be the tournaments top seed in the individual event. Saina faced off against Wong Mew Choo who managed to sneak out a close first game 26-24. It was a good start for the Malaysian but Saina managed to pull things back in her favour in the second 21-17 to set up a final deciding game. This also went in the Indian’s favour as she went on to win the match, and India’s first point in the tie, 24-26, 21-17, 21-14.
To seal victory Malaysia brought out more of their superstars as world number one men’s doubles pairing Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong took to the court against Thomas Sanava and Rupesh Kumar. The Indian pairing are strong players in their own right, but they were no match for Koo and Tan who won the match 21-12, 21-19 to win Malaysian second consecutive team gold in the Commonwealth Games.
In the bronze medal match England defeated Singapore 3-1 with two of their points coming from victories by Nathan Robertson in the mens doubles and mixed doubles.
Stay tuned here for more reports as we start the individual events.