HANOI - The Singapore men's and women's badminton teams had to settle for a sixth consecutive bronze at the SEA Games after their semi-final defeats yesterday.
The men's team, led by singles world champion Loh Kean Yew, came agonisingly close to reaching their first final since 2007, but lost 3-2 to 2019 silver medallists Malaysia, who fielded a new-look team without 2021 All-England champion Lee Zii Jia.
Loh drew first blood for Singapore with a 21-12, 21-12 victory over Kok Jing Hong. Terry Hee and Loh Kean Hean then doubled the Republic's lead, beating Junaidi Arif and Man Wei Chong 21-19, 21-13.
Jason Teh did well to force a decider against Lee Shun Yang but eventually lost 21-12, 21-23, 21-16.
Malaysia's Chen Tang Jie and Muhammad Haikal levelled the tie by beating Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Andy Kwek 21-17, 21-15.
Muhammad Shaqeem Eiman then secured his country's spot in the finals with a 21-10, 21-17 win over Joel Koh.
The last time Singapore won the men's team silver was in 2007, while a gold at the biennial event remains elusive.
Loh said he will now turn his attention to the singles, where he is the favourite to win gold.
"I just want to take one step at a time and focus only on the next match and see how it goes. Hopefully I'll perform well," he said.
Doubles player Hee added: "I'm bringing the same hunger to the (other) events... Hopefully I can bring back medals for Singapore."
Meanwhile, the women's team were beaten 3-0 by defending champions Thailand in the last four.
Olympian Yeo Jia Min fell 21-17, 21-13 to Pornpawee Chochuwong in the opener before Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai doubled the Thai team's lead with a 21-19, 21-15 win over Jin Yujia and Crystal Wong.
Nur Insyirah Khan put up a good fight but lost 21-15, 23-21 to Phittayaporn Chaiwan, which gave Thailand an insurmountable lead.
Yeo, 23, said that while her condition has slightly deteriorated because of injury, she is slowly improving and looking forward to getting good results in Hanoi.
"There were good and bad points to note from my match. The opponent handled the game better and I didn't pressure her enough," she said.
"I won some points but I also lost them too easily so I need to be more active in attacking the opponent instead of waiting to react to their attacks."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.