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By James Reid in Birmingham
Tredegar’s Chloe Thomas Wu Zhang suffered heartbreak at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as she was defeated 3-2 by Malaysia in the semi-finals of the women’s team table tennis.
Competing alongside Anna Hursey and Charlotte Carey, Thomas Wu Zhang looked to make history by guaranteeing what would be Wales’ third-ever medal in table tennis by qualifying for the final.
But the trio were eventually edged out after a marathon three-and-a-half hours of play, and a tearful Carey admitted they were heartbroken.
“You saw how close we are at the end, all the heartbreak, just being there for each other,” said Carey.
“I’m so proud of us all and hopefully we can pick ourselves up - we’ve got to use that hurt.
“We’ve got nothing to lose against Australia, they’re a strong team but so are we and I’m so proud of the team.”
The Welsh team were roared on by a partisan home crowd that may well have been in Bridgend rather than Birmingham.
And 15-year-old Hursey was full of praise for their supporters.
“It’s so important, so many people from Wales came down and supported us which was amazing.
The English crowd were supporting us, Malaysia had their crowd, but we felt stronger and it was amazing to have them.”
There were better fortunes for Caerleon’s Georgia Rowe, who played all 60 minutes and shot 36 goals to help Wales to victory over Scotland.
Rowe registered 95% shot accuracy, and also put it on a plate for her teammates with 38 assists, as Wales held off a late comeback from the Thistles.
And teammate Nia Jones revealed they would celebrate their first win of the Games in style.
“It’s really satisfying,” said Jones. “I try to take the emotion out of it but actually we really going to enjoy it.
“We are on the same hotel floor as Scotland so it could have been a miserable rest of the tournament, but we are really going to enjoy that one.”
It was a frenetic atmosphere inside the NEC Arena, and Jones was taken aback by the support.
“This is why started playing netball as kids to play arenas like this, we probably could never have dreamt of crowds with a volume like that,” added Jones.
“The Welsh fans out there were awesome but the neutral fans made it a great occasion.
“They were cheering for both sides, they were cheering for great netball, which shows they are an educated crowd as well, it is just a fantastic arena to play in and we are so privileged to be here.”
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