USA Badminton Athletes Receive Invitations to Participate in the 2012 Olympic Games

May 08, 2012, 12:16 p.m. (ET)

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2012

 USA Badminton Athletes Receive Invitations from the Badminton World Federation to Participate in the 2012 Olympic Games

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Badminton has received the official invitations from the Badminton World Federation to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.  Athletes receiving Olympic invitations for the United States are Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif./Anaheim, Calif.), Tony Gunawan (West Covina, Calif.) and Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.). 

Bach and Gunawan will compete in men’s doubles, while Wang will compete in women’s singles.

Sattawat Pongnairat (Orange, Calif.) is currently Reserve 7 in men’s singles.  He will be invited should seven athletes in men’s singles turn down the invitation for the 2012 Olympic Games.  The deadline for athletes to accept the initial Olympic invitation is May 31, 2012.

This will be Bach’s third consecutive U.S. Olympic Team.  He competed in men’s doubles with Kevin Han at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, advancing to the second round.  At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China he and Khan “Bob” Malaythong advanced to the quarterfinals of men’s doubles.  Gunawan won the Olympic gold medal in men’s doubles for his native Indonesia at the 2000 Olympic Games in Syndey, Australia.  He then immigrated to the United States.  He was sworn in as a U.S. citizen on September 6, 2011 making him eligible to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games.  Gunawan also won a World Championship title for Indonesia in 2001.  In 2005 he teamed with Bach to make history for USA Badminton winning the first ever World Championships gold medal for the United States.  For the accomplishment, the two were also named the USOC Team of the Year for 2005.  This will be Wang’s first Olympic Games.

Ben Lee (San Jose, Calif.), a full-time police officer and 10-year veteran of the Palo Alto Police Department, as well as the 1992 U.S. Olympic Badminton Team Captain, will serve as the head coach for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Badminton Team.

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.  Each doubles discipline will have 16 pairs competing, while the women’s and men’s singles will each have 38 individual athletes competing.  The Badminton World Federation has an extensive formula based on overall world ranking with continental considerations to determine which teams and athletes earn invitations for the available slot in each discipline.  Badminton competition at the 2012 Olympic Games will take place July 28th to August 5th in the historic Wembley Arena.

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.