IT has been 14 years since Malaysia last won the men’s team badminton gold medal in the Sea Games.
Tomorrow, the national shuttlers will have a chance to end their drought when they face mighty Indonesia in the final at Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Manila.
Yesterday, Malaysia defeated Singapore 3-0 in the semi-finals.
While Lee Zii Jia won his first singles match convincingly, teammates Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Soong Joo Ven slogged in their matches.
Zii Jia outplayed Loh Kean Yew 21-18, 21-12 for the first point.
However, Aaron-Wooi Yik took 41 minutes to record a 20-22, 21-13, 21-16 win over Singapore's Terry Hee-Loh Kean Hean.
Joo Ven, who was expected to power past unheralded Joel Koh, also struggled before winning 14-21, 21-8, 21-16.
In the final, Zii Jia holds the key when Malaysia face Indonesia, who thrashed Thailand 3-0 yesterday.
The shuttler, however, believes the wins over Philippines (quarter-finals) and Singapore have given him the confidence ahead of the match against Indonesian No 1 Jonatan Christie.
“I have regained some of my confidence and touches following the wins.
“These were my first matches after suffering from food poisoning during the China Open last month,” said Zii Jia.
“I’m ready to take on Jonatan. Hopefully, I will be able to beat him this time after four straight defeats.
“We want to regain our status as the kings of Southeast Asia, and I will do my best to set us on course in the opening match.”
In the women’s team semi-finals, Malaysia failed to make an impact, losing 3-0 to Thailand.
The Thais will face Indonesia, who beat Singapore 3-1, for the gold today.