Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew during men's doubles finals against Canada at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 2, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
LIMA, Peru – The U.S. badminton duos of Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew, and Kuei-Ya Chen and Jamie Hsu took home Pan American Games Lima 2019 silver medals after battling Canada in men’s and women’s doubles.
Phillip was a part of the gold-medal winning men’s doubles duo in Toronto 2015 and knew coming into Friday’s match that it would be a tough fight against Canada.
The men’s match got off to a rough start, with Canada winning the first game 21-11. The U.S. began hitting more aggressive shots and found momentum during the second game. Drenched in sweat, the Chew brothers kept the score close, and, going into the break, it was 11-9 in Canada’s favor.
A shared glance was exchanged between the Chew brothers, and they both knew what they were fighting for. The two know each other so well that they’re able to predominately communicate with body expressions and looks.
The American brothers came back with a vengeance. Swinging powerfully and forcefully, the duo’s rallies proved to be too much for the Canadians, and the U.S. was victorious in the second game by two points.
Despite a hard-fought third game, the U.S. lost by three points and, thus, fell in the match.
For the Chew brothers, while the goal was gold, they still take satisfaction in being able to compete alongside one another.
“That’s one of the great things I was trying to achieve this Pan American Games,” Phillip said about medaling with his brother. “Of course, we wanted the gold, but we came away with the silver, which is a nice consolation.”
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Phillip competed at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and still plays so that he can play alongside his younger brother. The ultimate goal for the two of them is to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
“He’s always been the older brother for me ever since we were younger and always taking care of me,” Ryan said. “Following his lead from Rio 2016, he’s kind of my inspiration, and he helps my game a lot, which is nice. We have a lot of fun playing together as well.”
For the women, Lima 2019 marked Chen’s return to the Pan American Games after a 12-year hiatus, last competing at Rio de Janeiro 2007 and winning bronze in women’s doubles.
The 29-year-old dentist took a break from badminton after 2007 to focus on school and then picked the sport back up, training on weekends and after work.
Excitement was the predominant emotion Chen felt toward her upgrade to silver.
“I was really excited to just come back and compete for Team USA,” Chen said.
While Tokyo 2020 isn’t the goal for Chen, she’s open to the possibility. For these Games, she’s taking it all in – enjoying the enthusiastic Peruvian home crowd, ceviche, Japanese fusion dishes and her time in Lima overall.