Tuesday, July 5, 2016
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
The National Olympic Committee of Mexico has accepted BWF’s invitation for Lino Munoz’s participation in the Men’s Singles competition of the Rio Olympics, ensuring that all five categories have a full complement of players.
Munoz was invited after the continental representation place for Oceania was reallocated at the end of phase 2 of the Rio Olympic Games qualification process. Mexico’s highest ranked Men’s Singles player at No.73, Munoz made the cut in phase 3 of the qualification process which ended on 1 July 2016. Other Pan Am players to qualify alongside him in Men’s Singles are Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon (No.48), Cuba’s Osleni Guerrero (No.59), Brazil’s Ygor Coelho de Oliveira (No.60) and USA’s Howard Shu (No.64).
All the invitations up to phase 3 have been accepted. Subsequent phases will take place if players withdraw or NOCs decline invitations; BWF will then reallocate according to rankings. The deadline for declining invitations is 18 July; the draw for the Olympic competition will be made on 26 July.
Like many of his countrymen, Munoz’s association with sport started with football, but he then chanced upon badminton.
“I found badminton because I belong to a private club in Mexico and they have badminton. I started with football, a bit of baseball, but I was never into them, I just wanted to play for fun. Then I went to the badminton courts of my club and at that time the national team was training there. I saw the way they moved, the way they smashed and dived and I told my mum I wanted to play.”
The 25-year-old’s qualification to the Rio Olympics is more good news for Mexican badminton. Earlier this year, the country made it to the final rounds of the TOTAL BWF Thomas Cup for the first time.
“I’m really happy to be part such a big event,” said Munoz, of his Olympic qualification. “Big events like this help people get to know the sport and that badminton is a good sport to play. It offers a healthy lifestyle, not only for the young but also for the elderly. It’s healthy and also fun.”