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SEA Games: Lee, Kisona make badminton singles sweep
Published on: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

MANILA: Lee Zii Jia and S. Kisona won the men’s and women’s singles titles respectively at the 30th SEA Games here Monday, reviving memories of Malaysia’s dominance of the singles in badminton 46 years ago.

The last time Malaysia swept both titles at the regional Games was in 1973, when both of them were not born yet. Then, Datuk Punch Gunalan and Sylvia Ng Meow Eng triumphed in the men’s and women’s events respectively in Singapore.

In Monday’s action, the unseeded Kisona showed the fighter in her when she came back from one game down to beat Indonesia’s Ruselli Hartawan in the final at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex here.

After dropping the first set at 20-22, Kisona, ranked 104th in the world, tightened her play to win the next two games 21-14, 21-13.  

Ruselli, who is ranked 37th in the world, simply had no answer to Kisona’s determined and steady play.

“I want to thank the management and coaches for placing their trust in me to play in the singles.

“They did not set a target for me and just wanted me to give it my best shot. I have proven myself,” said Kisona, 21, who got to play in the individual event because top singles player Goh Jin Wei could not make it to the Games.

Top national men’s singles player Zii Jia continued with Malaysia’s fine display when he beat Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in the men’s final.

Zii Jia, who is world no 14, dictated play from the start to take the first game 21-18.

In the second game, he capitalised on his opponent’s mistakes to romp home a 21-18 winner.

It was a golden second appearance at the Games for Zii Jia, who was knocked out in the second round in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.

“Apart from the Olympic and Asian Games, the SEA Games is among the major competitions for badminton.

“After the victory, I feel like going on leave to release all the pressure,” he said. 

Men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, who would be in action in the upcoming BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, then overcame Thai duo Bodin Isara and Maneepong Jongjit 18-21, 21-15, 21-16 to clinch Malaysia’s third badminton gold.

Malaysia almost made it four gold medals out of four, but Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai lost 19-21, 21-19, 21-23 in a close mixed doubles battle against Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti.

Indonesia also took home the women’s doubles crown through Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.

The last time Malaysia bagged three or more gold medals in badminton at the SEA Games was in 1975, when they won in women’s doubles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles and women’s team. – Bernama/Astro 



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