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By James Reid in Birmingham
Hall three at the National Exhibition Centre could well have been the Principality Stadium such was the volume of Welsh support, but it was not enough to prevent heartbreak as Wales were agonisingly beaten by Malaysia in the women’s team table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.
It took three and a half hours to separate the two teams, with Ying Ho beating Charlotte Carey 3-2 in the final match to send Malaysia through to the final.
The Welsh team of Carey, Chloe Thomas Wu Zhang, and Anna Hursey were given a standing ovation at both the end of the match and again as they left the court by the vocal Wales faithful.
The team now face Australia in the bronze medal match, as they look to win what would be Wales’ third-ever medal in table tennis.
“We’ve got to use that hurt to try and pull ourselves up,” said a tearful Carey, who won an epic match against Li Chang to level the scores at 1-1 earlier in the tie.
“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.
“I could hear my parents [in the crowd] and we just wanted to make them proud.
“It wasn’t our day today but hopefully we can use that heartbreak to pick ourselves up for the bronze.”
The Welsh side were roared on by an extremely vocal crowd that created an electric atmosphere as the match drew on into the late evening, eventually finishing at 10pm.
And 16-year-old Anna Hursey believed the crowd played a big role in their historic performance.
“It’s so important, so many people from Wales came down and supported us which was amazing,” said Hursey. “The English crowd were supporting us.
“We all gave it our best, we lost by just a few points. We tried our best and now we’ve got the bronze medal match tomorrow and hopefully we can do better.”
There were better fortunes elsewhere at the NEC, as Wales held off a late comeback to edge Scotland 48-42 in netball.
Wales were dominant in the first half and went in 26-15 ahead at the break but were soon pegged back by a resurgent Scotland side, who won the fourth quarter 14-7.
But captain Nia Jones’ side held on for their first win of the Games, and the mid-courter admitted she enjoyed the victory.
“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.”
In the men’s weightlifting, there was disappointment for Michael Farmer, who finished seventh in the men’s 73kg final after lifting 286kg.
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