JIANG Yan Mei and Liu Fan clinched one of Singapore’s greatest badminton achievements with a 15-10, 15-7 win over Thailand in yesterday’s deciding match in the SEA Games women’s team final. Yan Mei also contributed a singles victory in the 3-2 triumph that gave Singapore their first gold medal ever in the SEA Games women’s team event and their first medal in the team event since a bronze in 1975. The triumph sparked spontaneous celebrations among the pro-Singapore crowd, with Yan Mei and Liu Fan leaping into an embrace and then grabbing the red-and-white national flag and leading the team on a victory lap around the courts at Tan Binh Culture and Sports Centre in Ho Chi Minh City. Thai pair Duanganong Aroonkesorn and Kulchala Worawichitchaikul walked off disappointed. Lim Swee Say, Singapore’s Environment Minister and head of the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA), choked back tears as he saluted the team. “Gold medals don’t come easy. This is tremendous,” Swee Say said. Singapore hadn’t fielded a women’s team at the regional tournament since 1989. “It took a few years to put this together (because) we started with raw talent,” Swee Say said. “Our next aim is the final round of the Uber Cup in the not too distant future.''