BADMINTON: The 2012 U.S. Olympic Badminton Team to Commence Action on Saturday, July 28 at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England
Cecil Bleiker
(719) 330-2062
July 28, 2012 3:48 AM
For Immediate Release
July 27, 2012
The 2012 U.S. Olympic Badminton Team to Commence Action on Saturday, July 28 at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England
LONDON, England – The 2012 United States Olympic Badminton Team will commence action at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England tomorrow, Saturday, July 28 at 18:30 when the U.S. men’s doubles team of Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif./Anaheim, Calif.) and Tony Gunawan (West Covina, Calif.) take on second-seeded Jae Sung Chung and Dae Yong Lee of Korea at Wembley Arena.
Bach and Gunawan will continue play in Group D of pool play on Sunday, July 29 at 14:15 against Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan of Malaysia.  Their third and final match of pool play will be against Japan’s Naoki Kawamae and Shoji Sato on Monday, July 30 at 14:19.
In women’s singles Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) will play her first Olympic match on Monday, July 30 at 08:30 against second-seeded Xin Wang (no relation) of China.
2012 United States Olympic Badminton Team
Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif./Anaheim, Calif.)
Tony Gunawan (West Covina, Calif.)
Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.)
Head Coach:  Ben Lee (San Jose, Calif.)
2012 U.S. Olympic Badminton Team Preview:
Steadily and methodically improving its standing in the international badminton community, USA Badminton is quietly optimistic that the 2012 Olympic Games could prove to be the top of the mountain it has been trying to climb. That optimism is not misplaced, as the 2005 world champion men’s doubles team of Howard Bach (San Francisco, Calif./Anaheim, Calif.) and Tony Gunawan (West Covina, Calif.) has set their sights squarely on the podium at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.  Bach and Gunawan will be joined by Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) who will be competing in women’s singles.  Ben Lee (San Jose, Calif.), captain of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Badminton Team and current Officer in the Palo Alto, California Police Department will serve at the Head Coach of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Badminton Team.
With Gunawan being sworn in as a U.S. citizen on September 6, 2011, the biggest hurdle of the journey has been cleared. A native of Indonesia, Gunawan won the gold medal in men’s doubles with Candra Wijaya at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.  In 2001 Gunawan paired with fellow Indonesian native Halim Haryanto Ho to win the World Badminton Championships in men’s doubles.  In the fall of 2001, Gunawan moved to the United States to begin his coaching career.  Gunawan has coached and trained some of America’s top badminton athletes since moving to the U.S., but found he still had a passion for playing the sport he loves and wanted another chance to prove that at the highest level.
Bach had teamed in men’s doubles with Kevin Han for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, after which, Han retired leaving Bach without a partner. Gunawan and Bach hatched an idea to team up and play the Badminton World Federation international competition circuit for the 2005 season primarily as a way to continue to develop Bach’s game.
The initial pairing of Bach and Gunawan certainly did take Bach’s game to a higher level. The pair culminated their initial partnership in 2005 by making history and winning a first ever world championship gold medal for the United States in the sport of badminton. Their accomplishment put USA Badminton on the map and also earned the two the coveted U.S. Olympic Committee Team of the Year award.
Knowing that he would not be eligible to receive his U.S. citizenship prior to the 2008 Olympic Games, Gunawan had always looked at the 2005 season as a type of competition swan song. Thus, the following, Bach teamed up with Khan “Bob” Malaythong and the two set off on their journey to the 2008 Games. The pairing proved good as Bach and Malaythong also made history, becoming the first USA Badminton athletes ever to reach the quarterfinal round in Olympic badminton competition.
Following the 2008 Olympic Games, Malaythong retired, while the draw of the court was too strong for Bach and he wanted more. In 2009, he talked to his old friend and partner Gunawan and convinced him to give competitive badminton a go once again. Now, Bach and Gunawan represent America’s best hope of reaching badminton’s medal podium at the 2012 Games.
While Bach and Gunawan represent America’s best medal prospect in the sport of badminton at the 2012 Olympic Games, they are not alone as they are joined by the young up-and-comer Wang.  With a bright future ahead of her in international badminton competition, the 20-year-old Wang, who narrowly missed also qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in women’s doubles with her sister Iris Wang, will be looking to make some waves in women’s singles.
Ben Lee (San Jose, Calif.) is the Coach for the 2012 United States Olympic Badminton Team.  Lee was the captain of the first-ever U.S. Olympic Badminton Team at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.  He is the current head coach of the California Badminton Academy and is a full-time police officer with the Palo Alto, Calif. Police Department.
Badminton competition at the 2012 Olympic Games will begin on July 28 and conclude on August 5th at the historic Wembley Arena.  Competition will be held in women’s singles, men’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.  The United States has qualified in women’s singles and men’s doubles. 
The format for competition has changed from previous Olympic Games, as all events will begin with a preliminary pool play stage in which competitors will be divided into pools and each player and doubles pair will play everyone else in their respective pool.  The best players and doubles pairs from this stage (16 in each Singles event and eight pairs in each Doubles event) will qualify for the knockout stage of the competition, which will eventually decide the winners of the medals.
For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, NGB Media Services Director for USA Badminton at +44-(0)-77-1414-1542.  This media advisory is also available on the USOC’s media specific website at PRESSBOX.TEAMUSA.ORG.

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