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COMMONWEALTH GAMES: POPAT TOPS NG MEE FEN; YONG AND WONG GO THRU
September 18, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - At the 1998 Commonwealth Games in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, India's Aparna Popat defeated Ng Mee Fen, the youthful
Malaysian women's singles player who yesterday had raised the host team's
hopes for a medal in the women's individual events with her upset win over the
third-seeded Li Feng of New Zealand. Popat, whose claim to badminton fame so
far lies in a world junior championships silver medal, beat a determined Ng
11-7 and 13-10 in a quarterfinal match today.
Malaysia's women though did get a guaranteed individual event medal in doubles
when the seventh-seeded pair of Chor Hooi Yee and Lim Pek Siah upended the
second seeds from Australia, Rhonda Cator and Amanda Hardy, 14-17, 15-4 and
15-9 in the quarterfinals.
Badminton-crazy Malaysia has always had world-class male players going back
to the late 1940's when they won the first of their five Thomas Cup titles,
but have never had much international success in the women's events. At this
Commonwealth Games, they have already taken a silver medal in the women's team
contest and have won at least a bronze medal in women's doubles.
In the men's singles events, Malaysians Yong Hock Kin and Wong Choon Hann,
the two top picks left after injured first seed Ong Ewe Hock withdrew, have
gone thru to the quarterfinals with easy wins today. Yong beat Geraint Lewis
of Wales 15-3 and 15-2. Wong defeated another Welsh player, Richard Vaughan,
15-6 and 15-9.
It was not all gloom though for the men from Wales. The unseeded John Leung,
who had almost written off his chances after he was injured in a freak
accident before the start of the team contest last week, upset the eight seed
from Australia, Stuart Brehaut, 15-11 and 15-10 to go through to the elite
Eleventh seed Mark Constable of England also went thru to the quarterfinals,
beating sixth seed Geoffrey Bellingham of New Zealand 15-3 and 15-11 in an
unusual match. In the second game, Bellingham was leading 11-10 when he tore
up one of his shoes.
International competition players usually come to a tournament with several
pairs and Bellingham had come to Kuala Lumpur with three sets. He had however
ripped two shoes in previous matches and now had no spares left. He was forced
to play with one foot in a shoe and the other only in a sock while the Kiwi
team manager went to get another pair.
Constable then easily took 4 points from the hobbled Kiwi to reach match
point 14-11. Finally, the new pair came but it was too late for Bellingham.
England was dominant in the mixed doubles quarterfinals, putting three entries
through the semifinals with three medals already guaranteed. Top seeds Simon
Archer and Joanne Goode beat Kiwis Daniel Shirley and Sheree Jefferson 15-5
and 15-6. Second seeds Chris Hunt and Donna Kellogg put out Dean Galt and
Tammy Jenkins of New Zealand 15-3 and 15-2. Non-seeds Nathan Robertson and
Joanne Davies defeated Aussies Murray Hocking and Amanda Hardy 15-6 and 15-6.
Australians Peter Blackburn and Rhonda Cator, the fourth seeds, joined the
three English pairs in the semifinals. They beat Wong Choon Hann and Chor Hooi
Yee of Malaysia 15-13, 1-15 and 15-7 in their quarterfinal match.
In the women's singles quarterfinals, top seed Kelly Morgan of Wales defeated
Zarinah Abdullah of Singapore 11-5 and 11-3. Second seed Julia Mann of England
beat Anne Gibson of Scotland 11-3 and 11-7. Seventh seed Tracey Hallam, also
of England, outlasted Kiwi Rhona Robertson 11-9, 8-11 and 11-9.
Morgan will play Hallam and Mann will battle Popat in tomorrow's final four.
In the women's doubles quarterfinals, Scotland's Elinor Middlemiss and Sandra
Watt, the fourth seeds, gutted it out to make it through to the semifinals and
at least a bronze medal. Watt was playing with a fractured thumb in her racket
hand and Middlemiss had a pulled thigh muscle. The two Scots played well in
spite of their injuries and beat Norashikin Amin and Joanne Quay of Malaysia
15-1 and 15-6.
Top seeds Joanne Goode and Donna Kellogg of England eliminated Denyse Julien
and Charmaine Reid of Canada 15-7 and 15-5. Third seeds Tammy Jenkins and
Rhona Robertson of New Zealand beat England's Joanne Davies and Sara Sankey
15-12 and 15-4.
Goode and Kellogg will play Middlemiss and Watt in tomorrow's semifinals.
Jenkins and Robertson will face Chor and Lim of Malaysia.
Following are the results of some of the other matches today:
Nicholas Hall (New Zealand) beat Stuart Arthur (Canada) 15-3, 15-2
Darren Hall (England) beat Nikhil Kanetkar (India) 15-6, 7-15, 15-5
Bruce Flockhart (Scotland) beat Bobby Milroy (Canada) 15-9, 15-11
Pullela Gopi Chand (India) beat Ali Yar Beg (Pakistan) 15-2, 15-1
Dean Galt/Tammy Jenkins (New Zealand) beat Mark Nichols/Kate Wilson-Smith (Australia) 15-10, 15-0
Murray Hocking/Amanda Hardy (Australia) beat Geoffrey Bellingham/Rebecca Gordon (New Zealand) 15-2, 15-3
Christopher Hunt/Donna Kellogg (England) beat Darryl Yung/Robbyn Hermitage (Canada) - walkover
Daniel Shirley/Sheree Jefferson (New Zealand) beat Stephan Beeharry/Marie Pierre (Mauritius) 15-2, 15-4
Nathan Robertson/Joanne Davies (England) beat Bryan Moody/Milaine Cloutier (Canada) 15-2, 15-2
Simon Archer/Joanne Goode (England) beat Cheah Soon Kit/Joanne Quay (Malaysia) 15-5, 15-7
Peter Blackburn/Rhonda Cator (Australia) beat Markose Bristow/Archana Deodhar (India) 15-4, 15-7
Wong Choong Hann/Chor Hooi Yee (Malaysia) beat Iain Sydie/Denyse Julien (Canada) 15-7, 15-11
David Bamford/Peter Blackburn (Australia) beat Russell Hogg/Kenneth Middlemiss (Scotland) 12-15, 15-11, 15-5
Nathan Robertson/Julian Robertson (England) beat Mark Nichols/Murray Hocking (Australia) 15-3, 10-15, 15-6
Michael Beres/Bryan Moody (Canada) beat Nicholas Hall/Antonio Gargiulo (New Zealand) 15-9, 15-3
Cheah Soon Kit/Yap Kim Hock (Malaysia) beat Geenesh Dussain/Stephan Beeharry (Mauritius) 15-4, 15-5
Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (Malaysia) beat Eduoard Clarisse/Denis Constantin (Mauritius) 15-2, 15-7
Vincent Lobo/Jaseel Ismail (India) beat Craig Robertson/Alastair Gatt (Scotland) 7-15, 15-7, 15-12
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