Malaysia Boleh on badminton court
MALAYSIAN badminton is flying in Rio. For the first time in the history of the Games, the country will be in two finals - not counting Lee Chong Wei's expected trip to the pinnacle of world badminton.
On Tuesday, men's doubles pair Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong joined mixed doubles pair Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon in the finals by stunning China's Chai Biao and Hong Wei 21-18, 12-21, 21-17 in the semi-finals.
The Malaysian men will meet China's Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan for the gold on Friday.
It took the Goh-Tan combo 64 minutes to record the win and become the third Malaysian pair to reach the Olympic final after Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock in Atlanta in 1996.
It was the Malaysians' fourth win over the Chinese in seven meetings.
With the Malaysian fans shouting Malaysia Boleh at the start of the match, Goh and Tan were never troubled in the first game.
There were hardly any long rallies in the error-filled game.
The Malaysians led all the way until the Chinese levelled at 18-18. But the latter committed three mistakes and their opponents wrapped up the game in 21 minutes.
The second game was also not much different from the first, with both sides taking a cautious approach.
But it was the Chinese duo who were in the forefront, not due to their brilliance but the Malaysians' errors, to level the match in 18 minutes.
There was much more excitement in the rubber.
The Malaysians led for most parts of the game, leading 11-6 at the changeover.
Despite being penalised for a service fault, they kept their cool to lead 20-17.
And then, to the delight of the Malaysian fans, Tan secured the winning point to put his country in the final.
Malaysia are now assured of two silvers to add to the one won by divers Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong.
The haul makes it the most successful outing for the country in the history of the Olympic Games.
Asked if they will now go for gold, Goh, 27, said: "Of course. At least I have a medal now. In the final, we have no pressure, just fight all out and try to get a better medal."
ASIA NEWS NETWORK