Malaysia men’s badminton squad check into the semis

PHNOM PENH – National men’s badminton squad stormed into the team event semi-finals as they cruised to a 3-1 victory against Vietnam in the quarter-finals of the 2023 SEA Games here, today.

First singles shuttler, Leong Jun Hao drew the first blood as the world number 61 player thumped Nguyen Hai Dang, 21-14, 21-16 at the badminton hall of Morodok Techo National Stadium.

After surviving a neck to neck battle against Vietnam’s main doubles, Nguyen Dinh Hoang-Tran Dinh Manh in 21-19 in the opening set of the second game, national men’s doubles Beh Chun Meng-Goh Boon kept their cool to take the second set, 21-14, to extend the lead for Malaysia 

However, Lee Shun Yang, ranked 93rd in the world, failed to carry the winning momentum as he went down to world number 163 player, Le Duc Phat, 13-21, 21-16, 7-21.

In the last match, national second doubles, Chia Weijie-Liew stepped up to their plate to overcome Xun Nguyen Xuan Hung-Pham Van Hai, 21-14, 21-18, to seal the semi-final ticket for Malaysia, tomorrow.

In the semi-finals, second seeded Malaysia will face defending champions Thailand, who saw off Cambodia 3-0 in the last eight.

Weijie, when met after the match, admitted that they lost their focus in the final stage of the second game, which allowed the Vietnamese pair to score five points on the trot to narrow the gap to 19-18.

Weijie and his partner then regained their composure to confirm the winning point for Malaysia.

Weijie said they are raring to face the Thais while Liew vowed to avenge their 3-0 loss to their opponents in the 2021 edition final.

The last time the men’s squad won the gold medal was in Manila 2005.

Yesterday, the national women’s squad suffered another embarrassing meltdown as they were humiliated 3-0 by the Philippines in the team event quarter-finals.

This was their second back-to-back quarter-final exit after they were beaten 3-1 by Vietnam at the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi. – Bernama