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Badminton: Malaysia knocks out Indonesia's beloved 'Minions'

July 29, 2021 12:10 IST
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Malaysia's Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in action during their match against Indonesia's Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the badminton men's doubles quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday

IMAGE: Malaysia's Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in action during their match against Indonesia's Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the badminton men's doubles quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

In the week's second major upset, celebrated men's doubles world leaders Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia were taken out of the Olympics by a team from Malaysia in about half an hour.

 

Gideon and Sukamuljo -- known fondly at home as the ‘Minions’ because of their diminutive stature -- lost 14-21, 17-21 to world number nine team Malaysia's Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.

"I really can't believe we won this today, especially at the Olympics," Soh said.

"It was the best game in my life, in my career."

The match comes on the heels of one of the biggest upsets in badminton history on Wednesday night, when men's singles world number one Kento Momota's Olympic dreams were crushed by number 38 South Korea's Heo Kwang-hee.

All was not lost for the Indonesian men's doubles hopes, however, with world number two team Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan defeating Japan's Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 21-14, 16-21, 21-9 in a tight match.

Indonesia's Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon in action on Thursday 

IMAGE: Indonesia's Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon in action on Thursday. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Their team mate Nozomi Okuhara -- women's singles world number three -- made quick work of Canada's Michelle Li in a tidy 21-9, 21-7 match in the round of sixteen.

Okuhara, who said she was "a little scared" but won because she kept her focus, is next up against China's He Bing Jiao.

"China usually focuses on the Olympic Games more than other countries so I think I need to prepare well and think about her tactics," she said.

Rio silver medalist and women's singles world number seven PV Sindhu from India beat Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt 21-15, 21-13 in a match that kept them both on their toes.

"I was rushing in my defence, and my coach was obviously telling me I was playing in the wrong way," Sindhu said.

"But I think I realised that after two, three points and I changed.

"I think the second game was pretty much fine because I was maintaining the lead and I was under control."

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Source: REUTERS
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