KUALA LUMPUR: While many argue that Malaysia could have done better at the just concluded Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, take nothing away from the national table tennis players.
They surprised even themselves when they won the women's doubles medal.
Before the games, the Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) had set a modest target of only reaching the quarter-finals for both the men's and women's. That’s because unlike previous editions, the squad this time consisted mainly of young and inexperienced paddlers.
Well, 24-year-old Ho Ying and 15-year-old Karen Lyne proved everybody wrong and even surprised themselves.
They presented Malaysia with their first ever ping pong medal in an individual event, when they reached the semi-finals.
The Malaysians lost their tie 3-0 to India's Manika Batra-Mouma Das, but bounced back superbly to see off another Indian pair, Sutirtha Mukherjee-Pooja Sahasrabudhe 3-1 in the bronze medal playoff.
National coach Beh Lee Wei was lost for words, when met at the KLIA2 on Tuesday morning, saying her players performed beyond expectations.
"I'm so happy for the girls because before going to Gold Coast, nobody expected us returning with a medal, as we were a young squad.
"They proved everyone wrong, and are now on the right path to achieve more success in the future. I hope they maintain this form and do well at the World Championships in Sweden later this month," said Lee Wei, who retired as a player after helping Malaysia win bronze and silver respectively in the women's team event at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Lee Wei also felt that the Malaysian men’s team performed creditably. "They may not have won anything, but they showed great maturity. When we (TTAM) said we were preparing them for the future, we never expected them to surprise us like this.
"Having watched our squad play in Gold Coast, I dare say we can go on to win more medals at the next edition (Birmingham) four years from now," added Lee Wei.