UNIONVILLE, Ontario -- The mixed doubles badminton team of Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi capped off an impressive Pan American Games showing for USA Badminton when they won the gold medal 2-1 (21-9, 21-23, 21-12) over Canada on Thursday at the Atos Markham Center.
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“It’s great, it’s especially important for us to the road to the Olympics in Rio,” Chew said. “We’re really trying to qualify and we’re pushing really hard and training. It’s really a big win for us.”
The Americans jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the first game to cruise 21-9, but in the second game, the Canadian team of Toby Ng and Alex Bruce was able to stave off three match points to tie up the match and feed off the rowdy home crowd.
“We just wanted to keep the intensity up, we didn’t want to have our momentum go down,” Subandhi said on the conversation she had with Chew and coaches between the second and third game. “We kept pumping each other up, keep going and focus on every point, not just at the very end. Every point just keeps up the intensity.”
Despite dropping the second game 23-21, Chew and Subandhi had an answer for every Canadian rally.
“We’ve been playing for a while and we’ve had these situations before where we weren’t able to pull it back, so all that experience helped us pull through today to change the momentum when we needed to,” Chew said.
The duo held an 11-8 advantage in the final game then closed out the match on a 10-4 run to win the first mixed doubles gold medal for Team USA since 2007. Chew ended his first Pan American Games with two gold medals, the other one coming in men’s doubles with Sattawat Pongnairat.
“The partnership has been great,” Chew said of his work with Subandhi. “We’ve been working together for about three and a half years now, but our rotation has come a really long way, especially in the last year we’ve fixed a lot of things.
“It’s still not perfect, but it’s a lot better – we’re getting to where we need to be. We’re heading in the right direction, which is a good sign.”
The United States won three gold medals and three bronze, which tied host Canada for the most medals in badminton at the Games. Earlier in the week, Eva Lee and Paula Obanana won gold in women’s doubles, while Howard Shu took bronze in men’s singles, and both Subandhi and Iris Wang earned the bronze medals in women’s singles.