SEASONED campaigner Wong Mew Choo hopes that the new generation of female national shuttlers would ride on the success of a first team gold medal in 34 years at the SEA Games.
On Sunday, the team defeated Indonesia 3-1 to emerge as champions again since their last success in the then SEAP Games in 1977 in Bangkok.
Mew Choo said that she was proud of the determination shown by youngsters Woon Khe Wei and Ng Hui Lin in defying the odds.
The duo, who are both 20, stunned the more established Indonesian doubles pair of Lilyana Natsir and Greysia Polii in the second doubles to give Malaysia a 3-1 victory.
“There have been times when Malaysia lacked women’s players. And there had also been times when Malaysia depended only on one singles player and one doubles pair. Now we have depth in the team,” said Mew Choo.
“What we achieved here was historic and I hope that this will provide a big drive for Malaysian women’s badminton. We still need to strengthen the singles department.”
Mew Choo agreed that the women’s triumph in the team event would increase the expectations on them to shine in the individual event, which began yesterday.
In fact, even Mew Choo will have a tough time to succeed in her mission to win the SEA Games singles title for the second time. She will take on Indonesia’s Olympic Games bronze medallist Maria Kristin in the last eight today.
“The Indonesians, especially, will be more motivated to win after losing the team final. It will be much tougher for all of us. I will give my best,” said the 2003 Vietnam Games champion, who received a first-round bye yesterday.
*Other matches involving Malaysians
Men’s doubles: Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari bt Bui Dang Duc-Dao Manh Thang (Vie) 21-15, 18-21, 21-10; Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong bt Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit (Tha) 14-21, 21-12, 23-21.
Women’s singles: Lydia Cheah (Mas) bt Le Nguyen Nhung (Vie) 14-21, 21-12, 21-12.
Women’s doubles: Sabrina Chong-Woon Khe Wei bt Khonesanith Inthavanh-Manivone Meungchaleun (Lao) 21-8, 21-11.
Mixed doubles: Koo Kien Keat-Wong Pei Tty bt Jeffrey Wong-Fu Mingtian (Sin) 21-17, 21-10; Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas) bt Duong Bao Duc-Thai Thi Hong Gam (Vie) 21-15, 21-11.