Two medals and muddle for Singapore
India’s star Kashyap Parupalli won the men’s singles bronze
Singapore picked up two Commonwealth Games badminton bronze medals on Wednesday, but there was controversy before Chetan Triyachart and Yao Lei snatched their triumph.
The Singaporean mixed doubles pair had reached 13-6 in the final game against Malaysian rivals Chan Peng Soon and Liu Ying Goh when a dispute broke out, eventually involving two officials.
Goh argued that Chan had raised his hand signalling he was not quite ready to receive serve, a commonplace action, but that Tryichart delivered the shuttle anyway, causing the Malaysians to lose the point.
She claimed that it should be replayed but when the umpire refused to allow this, Goh requested to talk to the competitions director.
There followed several minutes debate, but the score stood. On restarting however Triyachart delivered a fault with his next serve, though whether deliberately or not was unclear.
A spirited Malaysian revival followed, perhaps fuelled by a sense of injustice, and a seven-point deficit was reduced to three at one stage before Yao finished off the match with a quick, neat kill at the net.
The score was 21-14 17-21 21-17.
The closeness of the scoreline was all the more creditable because of Chan’s condition.
“He is not well,” Goh claimed. “He was not in condition to play, but he gave of his best.”
Later Triyachart was not far from picking up a second medal, for he and Wong Zi Liang had a narrow lead during phases of the first game before they were beaten 23-21 21-12 in the men’s doubles by compatriots Hendri Saputra and Hendra Wijaya.
At one point in the second game Wijaya produced an amazing behind-the-back shot as the shuttle hurtled to and fro at great speed in the flat mid-court rallies.
The women’s doubles brought a surprise as the unseeded Australian pair of He Tian Tang and Kate Wilson-Smith picked up the bronze medal.
They followed their defeat of the fourth-seeded New Zealanders Danielle Barry and Donna Halliday with a 21-13 12-21 21-11 win over the third-seeded English pair of Jenny Wallwork and Gabby White.
It was 14 years ago that He Tian Tang won her previous bronze medal - for China at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
It was four years ago that Liz Cann, the former Jersey player, lost the women’s singles bronze medal play-off to Scotland’s Susan Hughes at the Melbourne Games.
Now as an England player she reversed that result against the now married Susan Egelstaff, coming back from 6-13 down in the first game and from 10-12 in the second to win 21-18, 21-16.
“I think I was more relaxed than four years ago,” Cann said.
Later India’s star Kashyap Parupalli, who had done much to get his country into the team final for the first time, won the men’s singles bronze when he overcame his higher-seeded compatriot Chetan Buradagunta 21-15 21-18.
But he seemed only marginally satisfied.
“I trained myself to win gold,” Parupalli said. “Somewhere in my mind I had it that the Commonwealth Games can give me the platform to win, but I got too disappointed in the semifinals. Now I will have to wait another four years.”
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