The U.S. Badminton team is prepared to play for gold tomorrow at the Pan American Games, with the women’s doubles team of Iris Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) and Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) and men’s doubles teams of Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif.) and Tony Gunawan (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Halim Haryanto Ho (West Covina, Calif.) and Sattawat Pongnairat (Long Beach, Calif.) advancing to gold medal matches.
Sister’s Iris and Rena Wang faced a stern test in their quarterfinal match, lining up against the Canadian team of Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko. The U.S. jumped out to a commanding first-game lead and then endured a rally from the Canadians before ultimately winning 21-10, 10-21, 21-12.
“I think we started out a little nervous and but still played well,” said Rena Wang. “In the second set they played with more confidence and consistency but we were able to fight back. We played with no fear, all out, knowing this could be our last match.”
The sisters will square off against the Canadian team of Alex Bruce and Michelle Li of Canada, who defeated Eva Lee (Orange, Calif.) and Paula Lynn Obanana (Minneapolis, Minn.) 12-21, 21-16, 21-19.
On the men’s side, Bach and Gunawan thoroughly dominated the Mexican team of Lino Munoz and Andres Lopez 21-12, 21-12 to earn a spot in the gold medal match. They will face their Team USA teammates in the final as Ho and Pongnairat beat Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu of Canada 22-20, 21-12.
“I am really, really proud of the entire team,” said Ben Lee, U.S. women’s national team coach. “Everyone is working very hard and playing at a high level and to have the team playing for medals is a great accomplishment.”
In mixed doubles play, Ho and Eva Lee defeated Rodrigo Pacheco and Claudio Rivero of Peru 21-13, 21-19, to advance to Thursday’s final. The other mixed doubles team of Bach and Obanana lost earlier in the day to Grace Gao and Tony Ng, 21-11, 19-21, 21-14.