For Immediate Release
October 11, 2011
USA Badminton Team Braces for Category 3 Hurricane Jova in Advance of 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – In advance of the 2011 Pan American Games, the USA Badminton Team arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico this afternoon just in time to brace for the Category 3 Hurricane Jova which is expected to make landfall just south of nearby Puerto Vallarta, Mexico tomorrow morning (Wednesday, October 12th). The impact of the hurricane on Guadalajara is anticipated to be primarily heavy rain which is forecast to subside in time for the Opening Ceremony on Friday, October 14th. (Please see the attached weather map from www.weather.com.) Badminton competition is scheduled to begin on Saturday, October 15th and will be held in Guadalajara’s Multipurpose Gymnasium.
The 2011 Pan American Games is a critical tournament for USA Badminton athletes in terms of earning qualification points for the 2012 Olympic Games. The event carries the same amount of points as a continental championship and will go a long way in determining representatives for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. It is such an important event that not even the threats of Hurricane Jova and Tropical Storm Irwin on its tail could stop them from going.
Representing the United States of America at the 2011 Pan American Games are:
Iris Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) – Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles (Rena Wang)
Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) – Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles (Iris Wang)
Eva Lee (Orange, Calif.) – Women’s Doubles (Obanana) and Mixed Doubles (Ho)
Paula Lynn Obanana (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn./Mountain View, Calif.) – Women’s Doubles (Lee) and Mixed Doubles (Bach)
Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif./Orange, Calif.) – Men’s Doubles (Gunawan) and Mixed Doubles (Obanana)
Tony Gunawan (Los Angeles, Calif.) – Men’s Doubles (Bach)
Sattawat Pongnairat (Long Beach, Calif.) – Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles (Ho)
Halim Haryanto Ho (West Covina, Calif./Milpitas, Calif.) – Men’s Doubles (Pongnairat) and Mixed Doubles (Lee)
Coaches and Team Leader:
Ignatius Rusli (Orange, Calif.), Men’s Head Coach
Ben Lee (San Jose, Calif.), Women’s Head Coach
Mohan Subramaniam (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Team Leader
The 2011 United States Pan American Games Badminton Team is an interesting mixture of experience and youth. The team will be led by three Olympians in Howard Bach (U.S. 2004 and 2008), Tony Gunawan (Indonesia 2000, Olympic gold medalist in men’s doubles) and Eva Lee (U.S. 2008). Bach and Gunawan, the 2005 World Champions in men’s doubles are well on their way to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England with Gunawan having received his U.S. citizenship on September 6, 2011. Similarly, Halim Haryanto Ho, a native of Indonesia, became an official citizen of the United States of America on August 19. 2011. Ho and Gunawan paired up to win the 2001 World Badminton Championship in men’s doubles. Bach, Gunawan, Lee and Ho obviously bring a plethora of international experience to Team USA. The remaining four members of the team, the Wang sisters (Iris and Rena), Sattawat Pongnairat and Paula Lynn Obanana, will all be looking to this event to gain valuable international experience and ranking points that could propel them to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. Like Gunawan and Ho, Obanana recently received her U.S. citizenship (May 2011).
This will be Bach’s fourth Pan American Games. At the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil he won the gold medal in mixed doubles with Lee and silver in men’s doubles with Khan “Bob” Malaythong (Rockville, Md.). He won gold at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in men’s doubles with Kevin Han and silver in men’s doubles at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with Mark Manha. In 2007, Lee captured the Pan American Games triple-crown, winning gold in women’s singles, women’s doubles with May Mangkalakiri (Orange, Calif.) and mixed doubles with Bach. Lee also represented the United States at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The 2011 Pan American Games will be held, October 14-30, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The badminton competition is scheduled to take place from October 15-20th and will be held in Guadalajara’s Multipurpose Gymnasium. Team USA will compete in women’s singles, men’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Unlike the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2011 Pan American Games will count toward an athlete’s international ranking in the Badminton World Federation. This makes the 2011 Pan American Games a very important qualifying event on the road to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
The Badminton World Federation’s Olympic Qualification season for the 2012 Olympic Games began on May 1, 2011 and will run through April 30, 2012. Participation in the Olympic Games is solely determined by an athlete’s international ranking. Five badminton events will be contested at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England; men’s doubles, women’s doubles, men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles.
For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, NGB Media Services Director for USA Badminton at 719-330-2062. This press release is also available on the USOC’s media specific website at PRESSBOX.TEAMUSA.ORG.