COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The men’s doubles team of Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif./Orange, Calif.) and Tony Gunawan (Orange, Calif.) continue to impress on the international badminton circuit having advanced to the semifinals of the 2009 Yonex Open Japan Super Series of Badminton in Tokyo, Japan. Bach and Gunawan defeated the host country’s Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata two games to one (22-20, 18-21 and 21-9) in today’s quarterfinal action to advance to the semifinals of this prestigious tournament on Saturday.
The road to the semifinals of this event has not been easy for Bach and Gunawan as they have had to defeat the 2003 World Champions and two teams from the host country en route to Saturday’s semifinal. Bach and Gunawan kicked off the tournament with a two games to one victory (21-19, 17-21, 21-18) over the 2003 World Champions from Denmark, Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen. They followed that up with a second round, two games to none (21-14 and 21-15) victory over Japan’s Shohei Hoshino and Akiri Kobayashi prior to their quarterfinal victory also over a team from Japan.
The road does not get any easier for Bach and Gunawan as their semifinal opponent will be a very tough team from Indonesia in Yonathon Suryatama Dasuki and Rian Sukmawan. Semifinal action will take place on Saturday, September 26 with finals scheduled for Sunday, September 27th. The remaining matches will have a very Indonesian flair with three of the four teams remaining all representing Indonesia. With Gunawan’s history as a 2000 Olympic gold medalist for Indonesia, the U.S. team has joked that the remainder of the tournament is an all Indonesian affair with special guest Howard Bach. All joking aside, Bach and Gunawan are completely focused on bringing home the championship to the United States of America.
Bach and Gunawan made history when they teamed up in 2005 to win the first-ever World Championship gold medal for the United States of America in the sport of badminton. Their accomplishment put USA Badminton on the map and also earned the two the coveted United States Olympic Committee Team of the Year Award for 2005. What made the moment even sweeter was the fact that they were able to accomplish this feat in the United States as the 2005 World Badminton Championships were held in Anaheim, Calif. at the Arrowhead Pond, just down the road from the Orange County Badminton Club where Bach and Gunawan both train.
With Gunawan, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist for Indonesia in men’s doubles, not expected to receive his U.S. citizenship prior to the 2008 Olympic Games, Bach, a 2004 U.S. Olympian with Kevin Han, teamed with Bob Malaythong following the 2005 season to prepare for the 2008 Olympic campaign. In 2008, Bach again made history, this time with Malaythong as the team became the first USA Badminton athletes ever to reach the quarterfinal round in Olympic competition.
Following the 2008 Olympic Games with Gunawan anticipating becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011, it made for a tempting re-unification for Bach. Testing the waters for much of the 2009 season Bach and Gunawan re-united and found they still had some magic left. They now are committed and have their sights set on reaching the medal podium at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
For complete brackets and results, please visit www.tournamentsoftware.com.
For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, NGB Media Services Director for USA Badminton at 719-866-4608. This press release is also available on the USOC’s media specific website at www.usocpressbox.org.