Australia’s Kate Wilson Smith and He Tang Tien secured an unlikely bronze medal for their nation as they won the women’s doubles match against England’s Jenny Wallwork/Gabrielle White in the playoffs to decide the bronze medals at the Siri Fort Stadium in New Delhi.
It was Australia’s first medal at the Commonwealth Games since the 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
Kate/Tang Tien were unseeded and that is what makes the medal all the more remarkable as their win was over the third seeded English pair.
“This medal means a lot for Australian badminton and we are happy to have contributed it. We just cannot believe that we will be on the podium for the medal presentations tomorrow,” said Kate who is 31 and has played in four Commonwealth Games.
“We really hope that this medal will now be the catalyst for the revival of badminton in Australia as we want more kids to take up the sport.”
It was more remarkable though for Teng Tien, who represented China at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“We decided to pair each other in February this year and I am so happy that it paid dividends here in New Delhi,” said Teng tien.
The Aussies should have really won the first set as they held two set points, at 20-19 and 21-22 but failed to make it count. And that allowed Jenny and Gabrielle to win the first 23-21.
Midway into the second set, Gabrielle suffered an injury to her hand that required medical attention. The score at that time was 9-4 in favour of the Aussie pair.
More woes followed for the English pair as Jenny was shown the yellow card for dissent at 10-4. The English duo did not recover and went on to lose the second set 12-21.
The English pair held the advantage in the third set, leading 7-2 at one stage but the Australians staged one of the most remarkable comebacks, winning the next eight points to lead 10-7.
They never looked back after securing the lead and jumped for joy after scoring the winning point, with the English looking shell shocked.
But while Jeny and Gabrielle faltered, Elizabeth Cann rose to the occasion to win bronze in the singles, defeating Scotland’s Susan Egelstaff.
For Elizabeth it was sweet revenge for Egelstaff deprived that deprived her the bronze medal in Melbourne four years ago.
The men’s singles bronze medal match saw an all-Indian contest with youngster P. Kashyap upstaging the much-fancied Chetan Anand 21-15, 21-18 to take the bronze.
In the men’s doubles, which was an all-Singaporean affair, Hendra Wijaya/Hendri Kurniawan lived up to their billing as they defeated Chayut Triyachart/Derek Wong (SIN) 23-21,21-12 to take the bronze.
Meanwhile Singapore’s Chayut Triyachart/Yao Lei defeated Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia 21-14,17-21, 21-17 to win the bronze medal of the mixed doubles event.
Chayut/Lao started off brightly in the first set, opting to attack the weaker Goh. And their strategy paid off as they went on to win the first set 21-14.
But the Malaysians bounced right back in the second with Pang ustilising his smashes to great advantage. The Malaysians made less mistakes and capitalized on the error prone Chayut to clinch the second set 21-17.
Pang/Goh could not sustain the pressure in the third set and lost 21-17 and in the process failed to net the RM20, 000 incentive provided by their government for a bronze medal.
Bronze Medal Playoffs – Wednesday, 13th October 2010
P. Kashyap (IND) bt Chetan Anand (IND) 21-15, 21-18
Elizabeth Cann (ENG) bt Susan Egelstaff (SCO) 21-18,21-16
Hendra Wijaya/Hendri Kurniawan (SIN) v Chayut Triyachart/Derek Wong (SIN) 23-21,21-12
Kate Wilson Smith/He Tang Tien (AUS) bt Jenny Wallwork/Gabrielle White (ENG) 21-23, 21-12,21-16
Chayut Triyachart/Yao Lei (SIN) bt Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying (MAS) 21-14,17-21, 21-17
Gold Medal Playoffs – Thursday, 14th October
Lee Chong Wei (MAS) v Rajiv Ouseph (ENG)
Saina Nehwal (IND) v Wong Mew Choo (MAS)
Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (MAS) v Anthony Clark/Nathan Robertson (ENG)
Sari Shinta Mulia/Yao Lei (SIN) v Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa (IND)
Koo Kien Keat/Chin Ee Hui (MAS) v Nathan Robertson/Jenny Wallwork (ENG)