Thursday, May 22, 2014

Birthday boys deliver

HARD FOUGHT: V Shem-Wee Kiong overcome Koreans

BIRTHDAY boys, Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong inspired Malaysia to a 3-2 win over favourites South Korea as the former Thomas Cup champions defied the odds to top Group C in New Delhi yesterday.

The win will definitely silence the critics, who were harsh on the team, stating that, except for Lee Chong Wei, the others were weak.

Determined to defy their critics, the team battled hard against their more fancied opponents to reach the quarter-finals.

The 25-year-old V Shem, who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday, and Wee Kiong, who also turned 25 yesterday, paired up to give Malaysia an unassailable 3-1 lead after overcoming Korea’s World No 4 Kim Sa Rang-Kim Ki Jung 21-17, 21-19 in 40 minutes.

As expected, World No 1 Lee Chong Wei powered past Son Wan Ho 21-17, 21-17 in the first singles but Korea levelled when Lee Yong Dae-Yoo Yeon Seong defeated former world junior champions Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong 21-19, 21-19.

World No 27 Chong Wei Feng regained Malaysia’s lead by coming from behind to edge 32nd-ranked Lee Dong Keun 19-21, 21-17, 21-14 in the second singles.

V Shem and Wee Kiong blew out the candles on a cake before the match and had a slice each after clinching the winning point. Members of the Malaysian team, who were at the stands, also sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to both players.

“I feel so special today (yesterday). It is the best birthday gift ever, although, I had to work very hard for it,” said Wee Kiong at Siri Fort Indoor Arena yesterday.

“We played better than our win over three games against I ndia on Sunday. I was excellent at the net while V Shem was sharp from the baseline. We have tightened our game and are ready if fielded again as a pair.”

V Shem was delighted to achieve Malaysia’s target of topping the group.
“I am proud to be part of this team. I played a consistent game and my partner played a huge role in this win,” said V Shem.

Besides Malaysia and South Korea, the other quarter-finalists are China, France, Indonesia, Thailand, Denmark and Japan. The draw was conducted late yesterday.

Goh V Shem (left) and Tan Wee Kiong celebrate after beating South Korea’s Kim Sa Rang and Kim Ki Jung 21-17, 21-19 in a Thomas Cup match at Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in New Delhi yesterday. Pic by Goh Thean Howe

By AJITPAL SINGH | ajitpalsingh@nst.com.my  Read more: Birthday boys deliver - Badminton - New Straits Times

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