NAYPYITAW: What a heroic showing!
On Saturday, national doubles shuttlers Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo sunk to their feet in sheer jubilation after coming through a gigantic battle to beat Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda-Greysia Polii 21-17, 18-21, 21-17 in an 85-minute energy-sapping women’s doubles final.
Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo hug after defeating Indonesians Nitya Krishina-Greysia Polii 21-17, 18-21, 21-17 to win the gold medal in the badminton women's doubles event at the SEA Games on Dec 14, 2013.Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo hug after defeating Indonesians Nitya Krishina-Greysia Polii 21-17, 18-21, 21-17 to win the gold medal in the badminton women's doubles event at the SEA Games on Dec 14, 2013.
It was the last match of the day and the last match in badminton competition at the Games but they certainly saved their best for last - as they traded blow for blow against the Indonesians for the significant win for the country.
It was the only gold for Malaysian badminton after all others had crashed out.
With their win, Malaysia also wrested the women’s doubles title from Indonesia’s clutches. Malaysia’s previous winners were Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty at the 2009 Laos Games.
On paper, the Indonesians, who had scalped China’s world champions Yu Yang-Wang Xiaoliao last month were the heavy favourites but the Malaysians showed who the boss on court was on Saturday with their steely determination.
Unlike their laidback approach in the last few matches, Vivian and Khe Wei went on the offensive from the start to take the opener.
They could have nicked the second game after taking a 16-12 lead but the Indonesians stepped on the gas to force a deuce.
The third game was tense as both had their fair share of excellent moves, long rallies and smashes but it was the Malaysians who finally nailed it.
Vivian, who was a reserve at the last Games, was thrilled that she had hit the jackpot in her second attempt.
“I feel like crying right now ... I am just so happy that we came through that tough match,” said Vivian.
“We have had ups and downs this year and to end the year with a SEA Games gold is sensational. It just feels so good to win again,” said the 2011 Indonesian Open Grand Prix champions.
“Our coaches, family and fans have always supported us and this win is for me. This victory is also for my partner Khe Wei, who has done so well after coming back from an (ankle) injury.
Khe Wei, who is now the proud winner of an individual and team gold at the SEA Games, was over the moon.
“I cannot cry ...,” she said, laughing.
“It is really overwhelming. Finally, we have made Malaysia proud again. All our hard work has paid off,” said Khe Wei, who was a member of the team that won the 2009 Laos Games.
National coach Rosman Razak was almost in tears.
“I am very proud of the girls. They fought their hearts out. We knew it will be tough strength to strength but the girls did well to use the right strategy,” said Rosman.
“There were some loose ends in their second game that saw them losing after taking a 16-12 lead but the beauty is that they never gave up.
“They have given Malaysian badminton a big reason to smile because we can only expect more from them.”