After a long road and lots of badminton the big winners at the 2010 Commonwealth Games were Malaysia and hosts India. While these two teams were the gold and silver medalists respectively in the team event, they split the individual golds 3-2. First off in the mixed doubles Malaysian super star Koo Kien Keat would win his first gold of the tournament along with partner Chin Eei Hui. The Malaysian pair defeated England’s Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork 22-20, 21-12. Next would be India’s turn to win their first badminton gold of the tournament. Jwalla Gutta and Ashwini Ponnapa took on Singapore’s Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari and won in two relatively close games 21-16, 21-19.
In spite of Rajiv Ouseph’s strong ability as a mens singles player he was far outclassed when Lee Chong Wei proved once again why he is the number one ranked player in the world. The domineering Malaysian destroyed Ouseph in two fast games 21-8, 21-10 to win his second consecutive Commonwealth Games title.
In the men’s doubles Koo Kien Keat would yet again dash Nathan Robertson’s hopes of a gold medal. Koo partnered with Tan Boon Heong to defeat Robertson and his partner Anthony Clark 21-19, 21-14.
Finally the highlight match of the day for the home crowd was their favourite player Saina Nehwal’s match against Malaysian Wong Mew Choo. Saina was close to being defeated after losing the first game 19-21, and was forced to pull out a close second game 22-20. Saina took the match in the end by winning the third game 21-13 and won her first Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Bronze Medal day in Delhi had local interest as well as a rematch from the 2006 games, as an all-Indian Mens singles match topped the bill for the locals. Chetan Anand was the higher of the seeds, but it was fellow Indian Kashrup Parupalli who took bronze in the mens singles, with a 21-15, 21-18 victory in 39 minutes.
The women’s singles, was a rematch of the 2006 bronze medal match from Melbourne. However the result in 2010 was a reversal of four years previously as Liz Cann of England defeated Susan Egelstaff of Scotland in two games, with the Scot leading in both games but it unable to take a off Cann, who ended up winning 21-18, 21-16 in 36 minutes.
There was a guaranteed bronze in the men’s doubles for Singapore, as Sauptra and Wijaya defeated team-mates Triyachart and Wong in two games, winning 23-21, 21-12 in 29 minutes. Chayut Triyachart however, did come away with a bronze medal from the mixed doubles as him and partner Lei Yao defeated Malaysia’s Chan and Goh in a 51 minute, three game match which they won 21-14, 17-21, 21-17.
The fifth medal of the day went to Australia as He Tian Tang and Kate Wilson-Smith defeated England’s Gabrielle White and Jenny Wallwork in the women’s doubles bronze medal match. The longest match of the day was won by the Australians 21-23, 21-12, 21-16 in 64 minutes. However, Wallwork has already won at least silver in the mixed doubles when she takes to the court tomorrow.
Lee Chong Wei has successfully negotiated the early rounds and defeated the two seeds in his half of the draw in the quarters, then defeating Chetan Anand in the semi finals to set up the gold medal match against England’s Rajiv Ouseph who defeated another Indian in the 5th seeded Parupalli to set up Thursday’s final.
India’s big hope for gold comes from Saina Nehwal, as she successfully progressed into Thursday’s final after beating Scotland’s Susan Egelstaff in the semi final in two games to set up a gold medal match against Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia. The 2nd seed defeated England’s Elizabeth Cann in three games to book her place in Thursday’s final. Cann will take on Egelstaff tomorrow in a rematch of their 2006 bronze medal match for a chance of a medal in 2010.
Top seeds Koo and Tan of Malaysia are through to Thursday’s final against the 2nd seeded English pair of Nathan Robertson and Anthony Clark. The top seeded Malaysians have failed to drop a game on route to the final whilst the English pair had to come through a tight three game match over Triyacha and Wong of Singapore.
India has a second chance of gold in the women’s doubles, with 2nd seeds Gutta and Machiman progressing to Thursday’s final against Singapore’s top seed Sari and Yao, who defeated the 3rd seeded English pair of Wallwork and White in two games to book their place in the gold medal match on Thursday.
Nathan Robertson’s second chance at gold is also Koo Kien Keat’s second chance also as the pair match up in the mixed doubles final also. Top seeded Robertson partners Jenny Wallwork against the unseeded Malaysian pair of Koo and Chin, who have partnered up just for the Commonwealth Games. They defeated the 2nd seeded Gutta and Valiya in the quarter finals and then 3rd seeded Triyacha and Yao of Singapore in the semi finals.
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.