AUCKLAND: The World Junior Badminton Championships mixed doubles title was clinched by Malaysia's Lim Khim Wah-Ng Hui Lin but victory was earned only after some heart stopping moments at the Trusts Stadium here yesterday.
Khim Wah-Hui Lin beat England's Chris Adcock-Gabrielle White 23-25, 22-20, 21-19 in 54 minutes in what was a nail-biting affair all the way.
Khim Wah-Hui Lin showed nerves of steel to save match point in the second game before forcing the decider and taking the title.
The Malaysians, both 18, squandered two game points in the first, and were 19-20 down in the second before clawing their way back to win 22-20.
The third was another thriller as it was a point for point battle with the Malaysians finally winning 21-19.
Doubles coach Jeremy Gan was more relieved than pleased that Malaysia will be returning to Kuala Lumpur today with one title.
"When we trailed 19-20 in the second game, all I could tell the players was to keep focused. We still had a chance and I am glad that Khim Wah was able to kill the shuttle and draw level," said Jeremy, who was a boys' doubles gold medalist in 1996 with Chan Chong Ming.
"Generally, our pair didn't play well but what matters in a crucial match like this is mental strength and this really helped in the second and third games."
Mental strength definitely played a part in the second game as the Malaysian pair not only had to regroup after squandering two game points in the first but also had to play catch-up for most of the second.
The English pair, the only non-Asians in yesterday's five finals, raced to a 11-6 lead and didn't look to be in danger as a desperate Khim Wah-Hui Lin struggled to narrow the gap.
But when the lead stood at 19-15 in favour of Adcock-Gabrielle, their nerves let them down while Khim Wah-Hui Lin grew in strength. They drew level at 19-19 before a service error by Hui Lin handed the English pair match point.
Again, their nerves let them down and Malaysia regained service and collected the required two points to force the decider.
That, however, didn't materialise as the English pair fought tooth and nail with every point a hard fought affair and so close was the decider that the score stood at 19-19.
Again, Gabrielle's temperament let her down as she served into the net to give Malaysia championship point and Khim Wah finished off with a smash and both Malaysians dropped to the ground in celebration and thanksgiving.
"We refused to believe that it was over when they held match point in the second. What we told each other was that we would continue fighting till the end. We owe this triumph to our coach as he kept telling us to believe in ourselves," said Hui Lin.
Both players had been disappointed to lose in the boys and girls doubles semi-finals on Saturday and were determined that Malaysia would return with at least one title.
"That was our motivation. I know we didn't play well in the final but there are two reasons for this. One was we were desperate to win and the other was today's (yesterday) shuttles were much faster than what we had been playing with before. "Still, we managed to regain our focus and deliver gold for Malaysia," said Khim Wah.
China, awesome at the senior level, showed they have a talented crop coming through the ranks by taking three titles and finishing runners-up in the fourth.
Second seed Chen Long beat Japan's Kenichi Tago 21-16, 21-14 for the boys' singles title while the other three were all China-South Korea finals with Wang Lin taking the girls' singles with a 21-16, 21-15 win over Bae Youn Joo while Xie Jing-Zhong Qianxin beat Yoo Hyun Young-Jung Kyung Eun 21-18, 10-21, 21-15 for the doubles.
The only damper for China was the loss of boys' doubles top seeds Li Tian-Chai Biao with Chung Eui Seok-Shin Baek Cheol winning 24-26, 21-19, 21-15.