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First ever Olympics gold medal were kept alive by Lee Chong Wei and Double pair

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LONDON: – Malaysia’s hopes of landing the country’s first ever Olympics gold medal were kept alive with national men’s shuttlers Lee Chong Wei and doubles pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong beating their respective opponents to advance to the semifinals.

Koo and Tan, the world number eight pair, were the first to bring the all needed cheer to the Malaysian camp after their despatched their quarterfinal opponents  Isara Bodin/Jongit Maneepong of Thailand 21-16, 21-18 in 43 minutes at the Wembley Arena here.

World number two pair Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng of China stand in their way to be gold medal contenders in Saturday’s semifinals.

Meanwhile, Chong Wei, the world number two and top seed in the men’s singles competition, as expected delivered the goods when he cruised into the semifinals after defeating Kashyap Parupali from India 21-19, 21-11 in 44 minutes in today’s quarterfinals.

He will face Chen Long of China in the semifinal at 9.30pm Malaysian time tomorrow.Chong Wei won the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Chong Wei said after three matches in the London Olympics badminton competition, against Ville Lang of Finland (Group A play) and Simon Santoso of Indonesia (third round elimination), today’s match against Parupali really pressured him.

“He’s good. He tried to break my rhythm which forced me to make unforced errors.  If I had followed his temperament, he would have beaten me,” said Chong Wei after the match.

In another quarterfinal match, Chen Long beat Peter Gade of Denmark 21-16,21-13.

On his match with the Great Wall shutler, Chong Wei said Cheng Long was known for his aggresive but long rally play.

“I must be prepared to change my temperament. Cheng Long is currently world number three, one rung below me,” he said.

Their head-to-head record is 6:4, in favour of the Malaysian. In their last meeting during the 2012 Malaysia Open in January, Chong Wei beat Chen Long in a three setter, prevailing in 21-18, 17-21, 21-13.

National coach Rashid Sidek said as Chen Long was expected to play a long rally game in tomorrow’s semifinals, Chong Wei should use his speed to cut the opponent’s rhythm.

“The Chinese have changed their tactical movements, from fast and attacking mode into long rally mode.  That’s where Chong Wei should be alert because they just wait for the right time to kill the bird (shuttlecock),” he said.

-Bernama