From Amiril Muttaqien Meketar
BIRMINGHAM: National singles ace shuttler, Ng Tze Yong missed out on an opportunity to defend Malaysia’s gold medal in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, after he succumbed to India’s number one Lakhsya Sen, here, today in a match that went the distance.
Tze Yong got off to a flying start, by producing a near-perfect performance in the opening game, courtesy of a solid defence and quick offensive display, to edge Sen, 21-19.
However, a series of unforced errors by Tze Yong proved costly as Sen clearly dominated the second game, winning 21-9, to force the match into a decider.
With the tie now 1-1 and the stage all set for Tze Yong to prove why he is known as a ‘rubber set’ king in the Games, Tze Yong failed to rise to the occasion in the deciding game.
As Tze Yong trailed 14-19, the game was delayed for about a minute when Tze Yong suffered a slight injury on his knee and was forced to seek medical help outside the court.
A highly spirited Tze Yong tried to recover but he only managed to pick up two points after the game resumed while Sen held his nerves to win 21-16 and wrest the gold medal from Malaysia as Datuk Lee Chong Wei had clinched the gold at the 2018 Gold Coast edition hosted by Australia while India’s Parupalli Kashyap had won in Glasgow 2014.
Despite the loss, the debutant Tze Yong, who was roped in at the eleventh hour to replace Lee Zii Jia following the latter’s withdrawal from the Games, deserved a pat on his back following his sizzling performance here.
Not only had he helped Malaysia wrest the gold medal from India after winning 3-1 in the mixed team final last Tuesday, but the world number 42 had also scored two upset wins against the world’s top players en route to the final.
Tze Yong stunned reigning world champion, Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the quarter-final last Saturday, 15-21, 21-14, 21-11, and India’s Srikanth Kidambi 13-21, 21-19, 21-10 in the semis yesterday (Aug 7).