Magic medals moment for HK

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am

Wang achieves golden dream but opponent and teammate Yip is also a winner

Youngster Yip Pui-yin's fairy tale run ended last night as she was defeated by teammate and roommate Wang Chen in badminton's women's singles final - but the result remained a triumph for Hong Kong.

Wang, who won a bronze medal at the last games in Pusan four years ago, finally achieved her dream of an Asian Games gold with the 21-14, 22-20 victory over her 19-year-old opponent.

'I felt very happy because I had a lot of pressure on me and Yip had much less,' said Wang. 'I was very nervous today.'

Wang, who moved to Hong Kong from the mainland in 1999 after quitting the national team, has since won many big tournaments but she said this is the one she will cherish most.

'This is my last Asian Games and I didn't want to lose. It is very important for me, I am already 30 years old,' she said. 'I would like to thank Hong Kong for affording me so many chances to compete in international tournaments. This gold medal is not only mine, this is a medal for the whole team.'

Yip, who broke into tears after the match, said she felt too emotional beforehand because it was being contested by two Hong Kong players and she was not happy with her performance. 'I did not play as well as I did in the previous matches, but I have done my best.'

Yip pulled off a stunning 2-0 victory over world number one and Olympic champion Zhang Ning of China in the quarter-finals.

The youngster said the silver medal would definitely help shape her future in the sport. She said she would have to get used to being more of a target in tournaments.

'Now I am the Asian Games silver medallist and unlike before, when I was just another young player from Hong Kong, other players will be taking me more seriously,' she said.

Hong Kong team coach Chan Chi-choi said both players had given their best and although it was not an extremely exciting final, he was happy with their performances.

'They both went through tough semi-finals the night before and were probably a bit flat after that. You cannot ask more from them,' he said. 'As a coach, I am very happy to see two of our players meet in the final.'

Wang had a tough three-set win over world number two Xie Xingfang of China in the semi-finals, while Yip knocked out Hwang Hye-yeon of South Korea in two long sets in the other semi.

Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat turned the tables on arch-rival Lin Dan with a stunning upset win over men's world number one to win gold yesterday.

Olympic champion Taufik, who suffered two defeats to China's world champion in team play at the games, capitalised on a string of errors from Lin to win 21-15, 22-20.