Malaysia narrowly missed the first ever gold medal when men’s doubles shuttlers clinched a silver after losing to China’s Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan in the final at the Rio Olympic Games here on Friday.
Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong narrowly lost the decider in the deuce after putting up their ever stronger game against China’s world number four in the closely fought rubber set.
V Shem-Wee Kiong were battling for the crucial two points in deuce before the Chinese pair tipped the scale to claim the gold medal at the end of a three-set match 21-16, 11-21, 21-23.
It was the first gold for China in badminton after losing the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed pair gold. In the 2012 London Games, they swept all five gold medals at stake.
The Malaysian pair had an impressive display to match the Chinese at the opening set and were tied 7-7 before taking the lead from there on to win 21-16 in 20 minutes.
The Chinese came back in the next set with a relentless barrage of attacks to take a quick and massive lead at 6-1 then 20-10 before sealing the match at 21-11.
In the decider, Haifeng and Zhang Nan, however, once again took the lead until the Malaysian catch up at 12-12 before the Chinese scored continuous points with smashes for 17-14.
However, V Shem-Wee Kiong came back into the game and leveled the score at 18-18 and took the game point to 20-19 before V. Shem lost the game point twice when he could not get over the serve over the net.
“We are disappointed and mistakes in the serve cause us to lose the game. We have come far to this stage, but cannot make it to the end,” said V. Shem.
However, he said, in the overall, they had done a good job by beating top seeded Chinese and Korean pairs in the competition.
“It’s unfortunate…we tensed up and that caused us to make unforced errors at the crucial moments,” said Wee Kiong.
Badminton has so far contributed two silvers through V Shem-Wee Kiong and mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying.
Malaysia’s hopes to end the Olympic gold medal drought now rely on Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles finals tomorrow (Saturday) when he takes on China’s Chen Long.
Apart from two silvers from badminton, diving pair Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong had also contributed a silver medal in women’s synchronised 10m platform and cyclist Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, a bronze in the keirin race.