England bounced back from their shattering semi-final defeat yesterday to take badminton bronze in the mixed team competition with a clinical victory against Singapore in Delhi’s Siri Fort Sports Complex today.
The four-game victory was welcome compensation for England who came here with high hopes of matching their silver from Melbourne four years ago, despite fielding a much-changed team.
It would have been easy for England’s badminton players to lose heart after losing so comprehensively to a brilliant Indian team yesterday. But there was no sign of despair today as they out-played the Singaporeans to win by three games to one.
“Any medal is important,” commented Leicester’s Anthony Clark after he and Nathan Robertson sealed victory in the men’s doubles.
“We would have loved to have won the gold, and in some ways this is disappointing. We’d love to have been on top of the podium like any English athletes.
“But with a young team like we have to come away with a bronze is a great result.”
England’s rout began with Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork, who won their mixed doubles against Chayut Triyachart and Lei Yao in two sets, 21-13, 21-15.
Men’s singles man Rajiv Ouseph carried on in similar vein dispatching Derek Wong 21-15, 21-17 in what he described as his best match so far in Delhi to give England a handsome two-nil lead.
Progress was a little tougher for Liz Cann and when the 31-year-old from Milton Keynes couldn’t close out the match – losing 21-14, 21-12 to Xing Aiying– England brought out the big guns to make sure of the medal.
Robertson and Clark – aged 33 and 32 respectively, and with more than 200 caps between them – left little to chance as they demolished Hendra Wijaya and Chayut Triyachat 21-12, 21-11.
“It was a much better performance today,” said Clark after winning his sixth Commonwealth Games medal. “The first match is always important which put a lot of pressure on Nathan and Jenny and they were brilliant today.
“One day you can be amazing and the next not so good. Now we have to go out and win individual medals.”
Robertson, who won his first Commonwealth medal back in 1998 and chalked up his eighth today, was equally gratified by the team’s performance.
“I’m very proud of this team,” he said. “Last night India were just too good but it’s great for this team to get on the medal podium.
“I think we bounced back brilliantly and played as good a match as we could have today.”