This is always a lively tournament despite -or perhaps because- some of the big guns from the badminton world are missing. Like the Olympics it’s only held every four years and there’s an exquisite pressure when national prestige is added into the mix.
Some performances really stand out. India’s haul of 3 Golds was exceptional. Sindhu, Sen and Rankireddy/Shetty ruled finals day with a self-belief and swagger that was unstoppable. These athletes have delivered gold when the weight of expectation was heaviest.
In the singles competition there was an opportunity for a Golden Indian double. First up PV Sindhu faced Canadian Michelle Li. Sindhu is a renowned big game player with notable successes in all the blue riband competitions and she arrived on court prepared to unleash her power game. She was uncontainable and dispatched LI in two sets. In the Men’s Singles Lakshya Sen was the hot favourite for the title and he came from behind in his debut Commonwealth Games to beat Ng.
In Mixed Doubles the Singaporean couple Terry HEE and Jessica TAN got the first Gold of the day in two sets. Their attack and intensity gave them a momentum that Ellis & Smith failed to disrupt. In the Men’s Doubles, Lane and Vendy couldn’t live with the quality of Satwik/Chirag and went down in straight sets. Lastly, in the Women’s Doubles, Pearly TAN and Thinaah Muralitharan demolished the English opposition and will be bringing Gold medals home to Malaysia. England had finalists in all three doubles competitions but they had to settle for Silver in each match.
Malaysia’s Gold in the team championship was a great example of an inspired group of players who ignored their critics and seized their moment. Many predicted struggles owing to the absence of LEE Zii Jia however with NG Tze Yong amassing confidence with each success they rode their momentum right to the top of the podium. It was a well deserved Gold. India fought hard and were rewarded with Silver, the Bronze to Singapore. For the first time ever, England failed to win a team event medal.
It’s been an enjoyable tournament with lots of good quality play but not many surprises. However, representing Malaysia, NG Tze Yong has shown incredible grit and nerve since the beginning of the team tournament and he can be proud of his achievements over the past two weeks. Lauren Smith, in getting to two finals, has fed off the home crowd and blended their support with a focus on the prize. I’m fascinated to see how successes and failures in Birmingham fuel performances in the upcoming World Championships.
©2022 Amanda Bloss All Rights Reserved