Taiwan badminton stars advance toward medals at Tokyo Olympics

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Tai Tzu-ying working her way to victory at the Tokyo Olympics Friday. Tai Tzu-ying working her way to victory at the Tokyo Olympics Friday. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – World badminton No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) took a major step toward gold Friday (July 30) by beating her veteran rival Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the quarterfinals, while Lee Yang (李洋) and Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) defeated an Indonesian duo to become the first ever Taiwanese team to have a chance at a men’s doubles gold.

As Tai has a history of slipping up at the Olympics — despite winning many other competitions — her performance Friday was the best ever for a Taiwanese woman. Until this point, Tai had won 15 of the 29 contests against Ratchanok.

During the first set of the 67-minute game, Tai squandered an early advantage, letting the Thai player win by 14-21. During the second set, it was as if she woke up, turning the situation around, CNA reported. She won both the second and third sets 21-18.

In the men’s doubles, Lee and Wang are now certain of winning either a gold or silver medal and Taiwan’s record seventh medal at the Tokyo Olympics after beating Indonesians Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan within 28 minutes, CNA reported.

Ranked No. 3 in the world, the Taiwanese duo led early on during both sets, defeating the No. 2-ranked Indonesians 21-11, 21-10. In the final battle for the gold, they will face either a Chinese or a Malaysian duo.

Taiwanese badminton doubles players enter Olympic semifinals for 1st time in history

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lee Yang (李洋) and Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) ousted their Japanese opponents in straight sets on Thursday (July 29), making them the first Taiwanese men’s badminton duo to enter the semifinals in Olympic history,

During the badminton men’s doubles quarterfinals on Thursday, world No. 3 duo of Lee and Wang faced off with Japan’s No. 1 pair of Endo Hiroyuki and Watanabe Yuta. Lee and Wang soon emerged from the match victorious with a straight-sets win of 21-16 and 21-19.

Wang ducks as Lee sends shuttlecock sailing overhead. (CNA photo)

Thanks to their triumph, Lee and Wang will enter the semifinals at 5:15 p.m. on Friday (July 30), when they will face world No. 2 team Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia to decide who will battle for gold in the finals. Even with a loss, they could still have a shot at the bronze medal in men’s doubles, which in itself would be a first for Taiwan.

Lee and Wang had a tough road to the semifinals, having lost to India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty 16-21, 21-16, and 25-16 in their first game in group play on Saturday (July 24). However, they redeemed themselves by easily cruising past British pair Ben Lane and Sean Vendy 21-17 and 21-14 on Monday (July 26) in 35 minutes.

Wang and Lee ready to hit return volley. (CNA photo)

Their most impressive win came on Tuesday (July 27) when they bested the No. 1 team in the world, Indonesia’s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 21-18, 15-21, and 21-17 in a seesaw battle that lasted 51 minutes.

After overcoming so much adversity, when Lee and Wang clinched their bid to the finals on Thursday, they instantly buckled to the ground on their knees out of relief and joy. When asked to respond to their win, both responded in unison that “it was hard to believe,” and Wang stated that the process of coming all the way back from the first loss “was like climbing back from hell,” reported UDN.

Wang and Lee rush to return shuttlecock. (CNA photo)

Lee and Wang celebrating winning a point. (Sports Administration Ministry of Education (photo))

Wang and Lee rejoice in victory. (CNA photo)

Video shows moment Wang and Lee win the game:

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Taiwan’s badminton duo reach semis

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Taiwan’s badminton duo reach semis

‘BOSS CHARACTER’: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin said they had ‘crawled out of hell’ and have nothing to lose in a match against the world’s No. 2 pairing

Staff reporter, with CNA, TOKYO

Badminton duo Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin made history in Tokyo yesterday by becoming the first Taiwanese shuttlers to advance to an Olympics semi-final after they edged their Japanese rivals in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles.

The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo defeated Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-16, 21-19 in 44 minutes at the Musashino Forest Plaza.

By reaching the final four, the pair have recorded Taiwan’s best ever showing in Olympic badminton, surpassing a quarter-finals finish by Lee Sheng-mu and Fang Chieh-min in the men’s doubles at the London Games in 2012.

Taiwan’s Lee Yang, right, returns as Wang Chi-lin positions himself during their men’s doubles badminton quarter-final against Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday. Photo: AP

After clinching the hard-earned victory, Lee dropped to his knees while clenching his fists in celebration.

The pair got off to a bumpy start in their Olympic journey last week after they were upset by a world No. 10 duo from India in their opening group match.

However, they bounced back by defeating Britain before upsetting the world’s top-ranked men’s doubles team from Indonesia, earning a 2-1 record in Group A and qualifying for the final eight knockout round.

Taiwan’s Lee Yang, left, and Wang Chi-lin celebrate after beating Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe in the men’s badminton doubles quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday. Photo: AP

Lee and Wang said that it has been an incredible journey at the Games thus far.

It is “as if we have just crawled out of hell,” Wang said.

After losing their opening match, they felt they had nothing to lose and were thus free of pressure, he said.

They face world No. 2 pair Mohammad Ashan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia today, with the winners to compete for gold.

Lee and Wang said that they would focus on defense in today’s match, which they compared to “fighting a boss character” in a video game.

The Taiwanese duo have a 4-6 record against their opponents.

In the men’s singles, Wang Tzu-wei was eliminated in the round-of-16, losing 16-21, 14-21 in 46 minutes against Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

Additional reporting by staff writer