Another badminton silver adds to record Olympic haul

W.K. Tan and V. S. Goh

RIO DE JANEIRO: It was an effort of massive proportion for the Malaysian men’s doubles pair of Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong.

They showed that Lee Chong Wei was not the only one who could put up a great showing for the pride of our nation. It was epic, and they came so close, before the gold slipped from their fingers.

The silver is the fifth that Malaysia has won in badminton since the sport was introduced in the Olympic Games in Barcelona 1992, and the second one in Rio 2016 itself.

With the diving silver and cycling bronze, not to mention the potential gold, or at least silver, in the badminton men’s singles, Malaysia has exceeded expectations in terms of the medal tally at Rio 2016.

After the excitement of the heart-stopping semifinal between Chong Wei and Lin Dan earlier, the badminton men’s doubles final seemed to have started slow for the Malaysian pair of Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong in the first set.

The Malaysian pair, who are ranked 12 in the world, according to the Badminton World Federation (BWF), came from behind to take the lead against world number four, Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan, from China.

Both teams had strong periods but when the score reached double digit in favour of the Malaysians, there was no turning back.

With a firm grip on their commanding lead, Goh-Tan went on to win the set 21-16 in 20 minutes.

The second set was a different story altogether, as the Fu-Zhang combination showed a more aggresive side to their game. Winning point after point, the China pair never let go of their lead, taking just 18 minutes to win the set 21-11.

It was deja vu, but with a little less of the high-pressure rallies and excitement that ensued during the Chong Wei-Lin Dan semifinal earlier.

In the rubber set, Fu-Zhang got the score to 11-8 in just 11 minutes but the Goh-Tan teamwork kept pressing and narrowed the gap after the teams switched sides on court.

Malaysia continued to press and eventually made it 12-12, and they kept pace with Fu and Zhang.

It was when the score reached 14-17, that the ultimate fightback began.

Drawing level at 17-17 on the 22-minute mark, the Goh-Tan combo finally took the lead in the rubber set, for an 18-17 lead.

There was more of the same heart-stopping action badminton fans had witnessed in the first men’s singles semifinal.

Ultimately, Goh-Tan saw two gold-medal matchpoints slip away and Fu-Zhang took the opportunity to snatch the rubber set 23-21 in 29 minutes, and the gold medal that came with it.