Lee and Obanana Win Big at California's U.S. Open

Rio-bound Olympians Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana were just one of three American badminton teams who earned medals at the recent Yonex U.S. Open.

Lee and Obanana – who will play women’s doubles at the Rio Games – won bronze in the category after defeating the Indian team of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha Ram in the quarterfinals, 21-6, 21-6. However, the Americans lost their semifinal match against Japanese duo Koharu Yonemoto and Shiho Tanaka in three tight sets. Yonemoto and Tanaka went on to win the tournament. 

Other Rio-qualified American badminton stars appeared at the competition, but did not fare as well. The mixed doubles team consisting of Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi lost in the quarterfinals. Chew also paired with Sattawat Pongnairat for men’s doubles (a combination that will repeat in Rio), but lost in the second round of play. 

Howard Shu, who will play men’s singles in Rio, advanced to the category’s third round at the U.S. Open.

But there were more Americans at play than those who made the Olympic team. Women’s doubles team Beiwen Zhang and Jing Yu Hong, who did not qualify for this August’s Olympics, took home bronze in their category. (While all semifinalists at the U.S. Open are guaranteed at least a bronze medal, the Olympics features a Bronze Medal Match between the semifinal losers.)

What’s more, American Hock Lai Lee, who teamed up with Canadian Phyllis Chan, won a bronze medal in mixed doubles. Lee will not participate at this August’s Games. 

The U.S. Open took place at the Los Angeles Badminton Club from July 5 through 10. While the tournament offered ranking points, the results had no impact on who competes at the Rio Olympics: Qualification spots for the Games were determined based off the May 5, 2016 world ranking lists. 

The United States announced its badminton team on May 10.

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