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ENGLISH PAIR CLINCH GOLD MEDAL

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Sept 98 (Bernama):

BY A. Shukran Shaharuddin/Jackson Sawatan

Goode-Kellog lived up to their top billing, beating the gutsy Malaysians 15-8, 15-6.

The defeat of Hooi Yee-Pek Siah dashed Malaysia's hopes of winning their first ever gold medal in women's doubles since badminton was introduced at the 1966 Games in Kingston, Jamaica.

The English pair were far too superior in every department and seldom made mistakes compared to the inexperienced Malaysian girls. Goode-Kellog made full use of their height advantage to kill half-court returns by the Malaysians.

In the first game, Goode-Kellog took a commanding 11-3 lead before dropping two points. The Malaysians narrowed the deficit by collecting three straight points but that was all they managed as the English pair romped home to win 15-8.

It was one-sided in the second game as England won 15-6 to wrap up the match.

"I'm really disappointed that we failed to win. We truly wanted the gold. It was the chance of a lifetime and we blew it," said a dejected Hooi Yee after the match.

In the men's doubles semifinals, Malaysian pair Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah upset topseeds Christopher Hunt-Simon Archer of England 15-13, 15-11.

In the other semifinal, Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock beat England's second doubles pair of Nathan Robertson-Julian Robertson in three games.

Although Soon Kit-Kim Hock won the first game easily at 15-2, the Englishmen surprised the Malaysians when they displayed better understanding and won the second game 15-12.

The fourth seeded English pair again caused some anxious moments in the deciding game as they repeatedly attacked the error-prone Soon Kit, enabling them to lead 7-4.

However, Kim Hock started Malaysia's fightback with some hard smashes that shattered the English defence and restored the Malaysians' self-confidence.

They levelled the score at 7-7, 8-8 and then surged ahead to collect seven points to dismiss the Englishmen. The victories of Soon Kit-Kim Hock and Tan Fook-Wan Wah have put the gold medal safely in the Malaysian bag.



-- BERNAMA



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