Asian Games: gold for Hong Kong in women’s team squash as men suffer shock loss to Malaysia
The women storm to a 2-0 victory over India in the final but the favoured men are stunned 2-1 by Malaysia
Hong Kong have surpassed their gold medal haul from four years ago after the women’s squash team beat India 2-0 in the final on Saturday but the men’s team failed to add to the tally after being stunned by Malaysia.
Ho Tze-lok gave Hong Kong a winning start when she beat Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 11-3 before Annie Au Wing-chi defeated India’s Joshana Chinappa 11-3, 11-9, 11-5.
It is Hong Kong’s second squash gold medal after Annie Au’s brother, Leo Au Chun-ming, won the men’s individual by beating Hong Kong’s Max Lee Ho-yin in the final.
The men’s team boasted Leo Au and Max Lee Ho-yin, who reached the individual final with Au taking gold.
Hong Kong won six gold medals at the Incheon Games while their best ever haul was eight golds in Guangzhou in 2010.
The Hong Kong women were expected to finish on the podium before the tournament but gold was deemed a difficult proposition given the presence of Nicol David-inspired Malaysia. However, India did Hong Kong a huge favour by beating the Malaysians in the semi-finals.
Annie Au was relieved as she led Hong Kong to gold just days after she disappointed in the individual competition.
“I was under pressure in the team final because I didn’t play well in the individual competition [she reached the quarter-finals] but Leo comforted me and I was able to pick up my game when the team event began. Thanks to everybody for supporting for us even when we failed to deliver [in the individual competition],” she said.
And if there was any sure bet of gold for Hong Kong it would be in the men’s team squash but Malaysia had other plans.
Hong Kong got off to a strong start when Yip Tsz-fung defeated Malaysia’s Yuen Chee Wern 3-1 (11-7, 18-20, 11-9, 11-8). Next up was Lee against Mohd Adnan, who the Hong Kong player had beaten in the individual semi-finals, coming back from 2-0 down to score an incredible 3-2 victory.
But there was to be no fightback on Saturday as Adnan dominated the Hong Kong player to win 11-9, 11-7, 11-7.
Leo Au was Hong Kong’s last hope as the individual gold medallist but he looked way out of sorts against the young and confident Ng Eain Yow, who showed plenty of skill and maturity to take the Hong Kong player apart with a 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 victory.
Hong Kong coach Faheem Khan was proud of his team as the squad celebrated their best Asian Games campaign since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1998.
“I’m very proud of the team and they did their best. The women played very well to win gold,” said Khan, who won a bronze for Hong Kong in the men’s individual event at the 1998 Bangkok Games.
“The men’s team of Max and Leo were both quite tired [in the team final] as they had played in the individual competition and they both reached the final. They didn’t get much rest and had to play in the team competition straight after their singles. But all in all, we won two golds and two silvers and that’s not a bad week,” he said.