The effervescent Malaysians (pictured right) came into these Olympic Games on the back of intense media pressure after a string of poor results in the past year and just one win.
That win came at the Malaysian Open GP Gold which served to keep media wolves from the door in the run-up to London. Their 21-16 21-18 victory in this morning’s quarter-finals at Wembley Arena signalled their readiness to compete for an Olympic medal.
“Yes there was pressure but pressure is nothing new for us. We have been feeling good and our game is getting better as we go further in this tournament,” said Tan Boon Heong.
The game against the new kids on the block had the attention of everyone in the venue. The Malaysians sprinted into a 9-0 lead in the opening game and this set the tone for the match. In the second game, they again jumped to a 12-4 lead. As in the first game the Thai pair lived to rue a bad start and Koo and Tan took the match to advance to the semi-finals.
“That was fun out there. Both pairs have an attacking style which gives a good match. We could feel the crowd behind us and I think they like to watch us play. We hope they get behind us in the semi-finals,” said a delighted Koo Kien Keat (pictured left with Tan Boon Heong).
Following the Malaysians into the semi-finals were the Chinese top seeds and Beijing silver medallists, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, after beating compatriots Chai Biao and Guo Zhendong, 21-15 21-19.
Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen keep Europe’s medal hopes alive, taking out Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu of Chinese Taipei. The Danes, spurred on by robust crowd support, dominated both games. Winning the first point in each game was as good as it got for the Thai pair with Boe/Mogensen (pictured bottom) winning in two games, 21-16 21-18 in 48 minutes.
"We knew they would be tricky to play against as they have beaten us three times and this match would be tough but we tried to stay focused and calm on each point. There was a lot of support. We could hear them shouting to us in Danish which is very nice and it’s a packed stadium, the British people are enjoying the badminton and it’s an honour to be here," said Mogensen.
Meanwhile, hoards of Lee Yong Dae (pictured right) fans had plenty to cheer about after he and partner, Jung Jae Sung, defeated Mohammad Ahsan and Bona Septano of Indonesia. The Koreans gave a master class in power badminton, coasting home 21-12 21-16, despite an energetic effort from their opponents.
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