Gold Coast: Malaysia continued its Commonwealth Games mixed team title defense on Friday, with Lee Chong Wei leading the team to outlast Canada 4-1 to top Group D and advanced to the quarter-finals.
Earlier Friday, Malaysia rested Lee Chong Wei, and let Goh Soon Huat played the men’s singles match in the tie against Seychelles. The Malaysian team performed impressively to beat their Seychelles rivals 5-0 in their second Group D clash before facing Canada in the Friday afternoon, as both Malaysia and Canada had won their first two meetings and were determined to win the final group tie to top Group D.
Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai entered their first match with Canadian Nyl Yakura/Kristen Tsai and their superior skills helped them win 21-17, 21-12 to record the first point for Malaysia.
The second match saw yet another easy victory for Malaysia as its top badminton player Lee Chong Wei trounced Jason Ho-shue 21-6, 21-5, thus helping his team take a 2-0 lead.
Although Soniia Cheah lost a hard-fought women’s singles match to Canada’s Michelle Li who won the 2014 Commonwealth Games women’s singles gold, losing 21-14, 19-21, 15-21; Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong sealed the tie for Malaysia by beating Jason Ho-shue/Nyl Yakura 21-14, 21-13.
Vivian Hoo/Chow Mei Kuan then scored the fourth point for Malaysia by outlasting Canadian pair Rachel Honderich/Kristen Tsai 21-16, 21-9.
Should Lee able to lead the Malaysian team to win gold in the mixed team event, he would equal the record created by former Malaysian player – Koo Kien Keat who won five gold medals in Commonwealth Games.
Lee would also get a chance to become the best Malaysian athletes ever at Commonwealth Games should he able to win gold in the individual event.
“I do not have any pressure here. I am enjoying Gold Coast and I hope I can achieve my goals here,” said Lee.
Malaysia will play Scotland in the quarter-finals and possibly England in the semi-finals.
On the top half, the Indian team will face Mauritius in the quarter-finals and it is expected to meet Malaysia in the final.
Nevertheless, India’s women’s singles star Saina Nehwal has played down the expectation.
“Mixed team events are usually difficult to predict because all players need to be in good shape. We do not really want to think of the possible final meeting with Malaysia yet,” said Nehwal.