Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shuttlers dare to dream big after reaching last four

MALAYSIA can now dare to dream big of taking the lion’s share of badminton honours as most of their entries made it through to the semi-finals at the Gymnasium 1 of the National Sports Complex yesterday.

Malaysia came into the Games with low expectations in the mixed doubles but the strong performances of first-timers Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying have raised hopes for a breakthrough.

The unseeded duo put up a great fight to knock out fourth seeds Devin Lahardi Fitri-Lita Nurlita of Indonesia, winning a 60-minute quarter-final match 21-19, 16-21, 21-14.

They will take on Thailand’s A. Songphon-V. Kunchala in the semi-final today for a place in the final and Peng Soon is looking at scoring another upset.

“Liu Ying and I are determined to come good in our first SEA Games.

“The win over the Indonesians today has given us more confidence,” he said.

“It is our hope that it can be an all-Malaysian mixed doubles final. This event has been long dominated by the Indonesians and we hope to end their reign here.”

Koo Kien Keat-Wong Pei Tty also did well to stun third seeds Sudket Prapakamol-T. Saralee of Thailand, carving out a hard-fought 19-21, 21-12, 21-18 win to set up a match against top seeds Nova Widianto-Lilyana Natsir of Indonesia.

Malaysia also have both their entries in the women’s singles semi-finals. Wong Mew Choo beat Indonesia’s Olympic Games bronze medallist Maria Kristin 21-13, 21-12 and will play against Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand for a place in the final.

The other semi-final is also a Malaysia-Thailand affair with Lydia Cheah taking on world junior champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.

The two men’s pairs – Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif – will be up against Indonesians Bona Septano-Mohd Ahsan and Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan respectively.

Top women’s pair Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty stayed in contention for the gold medal but compatriots Sabrina Chong-Woon Khe Wei were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Singapore’s Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei, losing 19-21, 21-17, 17-21.

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