Dominance rewarded as Bach, Gunawan win Pan Am Gold
The U.S. Badminton team claimed a gold medal today in Pan Am Games competition thanks to an impressive performance by the doubles pairs of Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif.) and Tony Gunawan (Los Angeles, Calif.).
Bach and Gunawan made relatively quick work of their American teammates Sattawat Pongnairat (Long Beach, Calif.) and Halim Haryanto Ho (West Covina, Calif.), winning 21-10, 21-14. The Olympians, currently ranked 17th in the Badminton World Federation rankings, have reunited ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games and look poised to be a force in that competition. Pongnairait and Ho claim the silver medal after a very good tournament.
“It was as a good match and good tournament for us and the U.S. team,” said Gunawan. “Winning a gold medal here at the Pan Am Games is a big honor. Now we start a schedule of many tournaments coming up. We are just outside the top-16 now so working up in the ranking and qualifying for London is our next goal.”
Iris Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) and Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) faced the Canadian team of Alex Bruce and Michelle Li in the women’s final and, despite a valiant effort, came up short , losing 21-15, 21-15. The American pair will now turn their attention to French Open later this month as they work toward London Games qualification. The American pair of Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana finished doubles play with the bronze medal.
“"We are not fast starters and that hurt us today,” said Iris Wang. “We've been behind in this tournament but we always rally back - that is our game as we are not big, strong hitters. Today we ran into an opponent who played really well and once behind, we couldn't find our way back."
Ho and Eva Lee enjoyed a day of rest before their mixed doubles gold medal match on Thursday afternoon against Grace Gao and Tony Ng of Canada.