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Mixed Malaysian Team beats England

20 Mar 06 22:58

Malaysia has won the gold medal after a tense and highly emotional match in the Mixed Team Finals against England. India defeated New Zealand to claim the bronze medal.

England took the first match - the Mixed Doubles - in an exciting two games. Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson from England justified their top ranking with a straight games win over Choong Hann Wong and Sock Ai Ooi.

The English pair centred their attack on the Malaysian girl and were able to win many points using this tactic. Robertson's power play dominated many rallies and Emms was quick to capitalise with strong net play. Final score was 21-15 21-12.

The Men's Singles followed, and here world No.2 ranked player, Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei proved superior to England's Aamir Ghaffar. Ghaffar battled on bravely but was outgunned in mobility, shotmaking and tactics. Lee secured the match 21-8 21-8.

The Women's Singles was the pivotal match, with England's Tracey Hallam up against Malaysia's Mew Choo Wong. Wong took 69 minutes to complete her victory in this match, and the scores fluctuated wildly throughout. Many times Hallam appeared about to take control but Wong always managed to fight back and find the energy to push onto a 27-25 20-22 21-18 victory.

England faced the position of needing the Men's Doubles to remain alive in the tie.

The first game of the match began with some tight points and fantastic rallies. England started well but Malaysia soon took control to win the game 21-14.

The sides went point for point early in the second game, thanks largely to some very powerful smashes from Robert Blair (England). The fastest-recorded shot in this match was 284kph, in a rally which saw some great attacking play and equally good defence. A run of unforced errors by England allowed Malaysia to take a strong lead and storm home to take the second game 21-14 and secure the gold for their nation.

India surprised with a win in the first match of the tie, when Vallyaveetil Diju and Jwala Gutta took a three game victory over highly ranked Daniel Shirley and Sara Runesten-Petersen.

The New Zealand combination made more unforced errors than usual and was clearly feeling the pressure of the bronze medal playoff. Final scores were 21-17 13-21 21-9.

The Men's Singles was also a marathon, with New Zealand's John Moody levelling the tie to beat Anup Sridhar 11-21 21-8 21-19.

- Games News Service

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