Olympic champions, Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, will not defend their Women’s Doubles gold medal in Rio as their entry has been withdrawn by China’s National Olympic Committee (NOC).
Tian and Zhao’s place in the competition has been taken by their compatriots, Luo Ying/Luo Yu, who were ranked No.7 on 5 May 2016 at the end of the qualification period. Zhao however will defend her Mixed Doubles gold medal with Zhang Nan. China’s challenge in Women’s Doubles will be led by Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang who qualified third.
The withdrawal means Zhao’s shot at becoming the first player to achieve a badminton Olympic ‘double double’ – a two-gold haul in successive Olympics – has evaporated. The 29-year-old celebrated a double at the London Games partnering Tian Qing in Women’s Doubles and Zhang Nan in Mixed Doubles.
Tian/Zhao’s (featured image) withdrawal had an unfortunate consequence – Women’s Singles No.77 Akvile Stapusaityte of Lithuania lost her conditional reallocated position and will miss out on qualifying for Rio. (Stapusaityte was one of three players awarded conditional positions as a result of players qualifying in two categories).
Monday 18 July, 2016, was the deadline for the final list of confirmed athletes. Apart from Tian/Zhao, there were no other withdrawals and all names in the second phase of qualification have been confirmed. This also means that China have kept faith in their top two Women’s Singles players, London 2012 gold medallist, Li Xuerui, and London 2012 silver medallist, Wang Yihan. Their compatriot, Wang Shixian, who missed the London 2012 Olympics, will not make it to Rio this time too despite being ranked 6 on the qualification date.
The badminton Draw Ceremony will be held next Tuesday, 26 July, from 11 am to 1 pm (Rio time) at the badminton Olympic venue, Riocentro – Pavilion 4 (Barra Zone). Seedings will be based on the World Rankings of Thursday 21 July, 2016. Fans worldwide will be able to follow the draw via live streaming on the BWF online channel (www.BadmintonWorld.tv).
The Men’s Singles competition will see 41 competitors take part, while Women’s Singles has 40 competitors. All three doubles categories have 16 pairs each. The Olympic Games badminton competition will be held 11 to 20 August, 2016.