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Malaysia Win Team Gold In Badminton
By Jaiarajo Letchumanan (From Bernama of March 20, 2006)
MELBOURNE, March 20 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian shuttlers successfully defended the team gold in badminton after coming from behind to beat England 3-1 in the finals at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Monday night.
The gold was Malaysia's third in the Commonwealth Games and second of the day after lawn bowls contributed a gold in the women's Triples event earlier.
Malaysia's first gold had come from weightlifting on March 16.
Badminton won three golds, three silver and three bronze medals in Manchester and have targeted three here.
With the new 21-point scoring system introduced in these Games, the matches generated extra excitement and gave teams an open chance as every service results in a point.
England raced into the lead after world number one mixed doubles pair Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms beat Wong Choong Hann/Ooi Sock Ai in the mixed doubles but national number one Lee Chong Wei levelled the score with a 21-8, 21-8 win over Aamir Ghaffar in the men's singles.
Wong Mew Choo then restored order through the women's singles, but only after a mammoth battle that went into a deciding third set against top seed Tracey Hallam.
| Wong Mew Choo|
The Malaysian women's singles ace won a marathon first set 27-25 but Hallam forced the match into the decider after taking the second 22-20.
Mew Choo secured the third set 21-18 despite trailing 16-11 at one stage to set the tone for Koo Kien Keat/Chan Chong Ming to give the winning point from the men's doubles.
The pair, using their tremendous smashing power and deceptive net play, switched off the challenge from Robert James Blair/Ian Clark with a 21-14, 21-14 straight sets victory to the roar of the hundreds of Malaysian supporters at the packed venue.
Doubles coach Rexy Mainaky said the atmosphere was very tense, especially during the women's singles.
"It was nail-biting stuff out there and helping Malaysia win the gold for the first time since becoming a coach is a great moment," he told Bernama after the match.
He agreed that the new scoring system has totally changed the scope of badminton and injected a lot of excitement.
The Malaysian shuttlers will now focus their attention on the individual events which start Tuesday.
Meanwhile, India took the bronze medal after beating New Zealand 3-1 in the playoff match for bronze.