Glasgow, August 2, 2014: Singapore Table Tennis Gold Rush, Singapore has reaffirmed their status as the top table tennis country in the Commonwealth Games, winning six out of the seven gold medals available at Glasgow 2014.
The only gold that Singapore missed out on was the Mixed Doubles, an event that England remarkably claimed gold, silver and bronze to the delight of the capacity crowd.
The husband and wife pair of Paul and Joanna DRINKHALL stood at the top of the all England Mixed Doubles podium after they defeated their teammates and good friends Liam PITCHFORD and his doubles partner, 15-year-old Tin Tin HO 11-7, 11-3, 5-11, 10-12, 11-5.
A hard fought win but the married couple was upstaged by the drama in the bronze medal match. Against the odds, Danny REED and Kelly SIBLEY secured the bronze medal by beating the number one seeds and hot favourites ZHAN Jian and FENG Tianwei from Singapore.
ZHAN Jian and FENG Tianwei did not dwell on the lost bronze for too long, as they went on to win their respective men’s and women’s singles gold medals.
ZHAN Jian defended his gold from Delhi four years ago by defeating the same opponent as he did then, his compatriot GAO Ning, 11-9, 11-2, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7.
“It was exciting and also painful”, said ZHAN Jian. “It was a really stern test for us.”
Despite the defeat GAO Ning stayed positive: “ZHAN Jian and myself are at the same level; as long as the medals go to Singapore, then it’s fine. Of course I wanted to win but silver is not bad.”
Liam PITCHFORD capped off a fantastic event for England by becoming the first ever Englishman to win a men’s singles medal after beating the 2006 champion Sharath Kamal ACHANTA (IND) 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10 to secure bronze.
The women’s singles final was also a repeat of the 2010 Commonwealth Games final, with the same result as Singaporean FENG Tianwei defeated doubles partner YU Mengyu in five games 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-2 to retain the title.
“I had no specific strategies for this match; we are very familiar with each other”, said FENG Tianwei. “I am really happy I was able to defend my title.”
Singapore made a clean sweep of the medals as LIN Ye accounted for Australia’s Jian Fang LAY in four straight games 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 in the bronze play-off.
GAO Ning and LI Hu made history for Singapore as they won the men’s doubles for the first time.
At the final hurdle, the Singaporeans top seeds, who earlier in the year had won the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai, accounted for the Indian partnership of Sharath Kamal ACHANTA and Amalraj ANTHONY 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5.
YANG Zi and ZHAN Jian accounted for England’s Paul DRINKHALL and Liam PITCHFORD by the very narrowest of margins 11-6, 12-10, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10 to win the bronze.
Singapore’s FENG Tianwei and YU Mengyu who contested the women’s singles final joined forces to claim the women’s doubles gold.
The top seeds beat a spirited Australian pairing of Jian Fang LAY and Miao MIAO to win the title 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5.
The Canadian pair of Zhang MO and Anqi LUO caused a huge upset and saved a match point to defeat the English pair of Joanna DRINKHALL and Kelly SIBLEY to win a memorable bronze.
Last weekend, Singapore won the men’s and women’s team gold to start their gold rush here in Glasgow. —- Photo credit: Paul Devlin/ITTF
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