PAN AM GAMES 2015 SF – Bruce, Li ousted

Defending Pan Am Games gold medallist Michelle Li helped lock up one badminton gold for Canada at the 2015 Toronto badminton event but she and her 2011 women’s doubles gold […]

Defending gold medallist Michelle Li helped lock up one badminton gold for Canada at the 2015 Toronto badminton event but she and her 2011 women’s doubles gold medal partner Alex Bruce were defeated separately as the home team is still vying for just one doubles title.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Three shuttlers are on track to defend their badminton gold medals at the Pan American Games in Toronto this week, where three finals will be repeats of last year’s Pan Am Badminton Championships.  Lohaynny Vicente / Luana Vicente (pictured above) of Brazil made sure that the home team could take no more than three as they saw off 2012 Pan Am Champions Alex Bruce and Phyllis Chan in two games.

Alex Bruce and Michelle Li teamed up to win the women’s doubles gold four years ago and on Tuesday at the Atos Markham Pan Am / Parapan Am Centre both players were vying, with new partners, to set up an all-Canadian final.  However, last year’s Pan Am Championship finalists were having none of that and Bruce and Li were left to settle for playing for gold in their other disciplines only.  The United States had the top seeds in all three doubles events and in the women’s game, Eva Lee / Paula Lynn Obanana (pictured) made quick work of Canada’s Michelle Li and Rachel Honderich.

In the evening session, the Vicente sisters exacted some payback from Bruce and Chan for a quarter-final defeat they suffered at the hands of the Canadians at home in November.  This time it was the Canadians losing at home, an especially heartbreaking loss for Phyllis Chan (pictured), who is the only Canadian semi-finalist who will not get a chance to play for gold in any discipline.

“Tonight was definitely not one of my better performances,” Chan wrote later on her Facebook page.  “I made a lot of mistakes and hit a crucial shot into the net after one of the girls scrapped up a net kill.  Shortly after, we lost that first game in a tie and it hurt.

“Ironically, I was much steadier in the second game but the Brazilian pair were coming very hard onto us.  We had a lot of trouble getting past their defense and it wore us down mentally to keep having to chase back points.

“I am disappointed that I was not unable to change the colour of my medal.  The home crowd was amazing with their support and I am sad that I will not be able to play for them again tomorrow.”

Canadians still look for 3

In contrast to the sad news in women’s doubles, the women’s singles gold is already locked up for the home team.  Rachel Honderich (pictured) won handily over Iris Wang of the U.S.A.  Then in the last match of the day, Jamie Subandhi fought hard but was unable to avoid losing a seventh straight match to defending gold medallist Michelle Li of Canada.

Subandhi still has one more chance for gold, however.  She and Phillip Chew made it past Peru’s Katherine Winder and Mario Cuba in the mixed doubles.  Their opponents will be defending gold medallist Toby Ng and new partner Alex Bruce in a repeat of last year’s Pan Am Championship final.

The biggest upset of the day, by far, came when Canada’s Andrew D’Souza beat reigning Pan Am Champion Osleni Guerrero (pictured below) of Cuba.  The 2011 silver medallist took the first game decisively but D’Souza, who just turned 21 on Canada Day, was on fire in the next two games.

D’Souza must now play the defending gold medallist Kevin Cordon (pictured bottom) of Guatemala.  Cordon beat Howard Shu of the United States, who was once again involved in the longest, closest match of the day.  Shu’s loss in the afternoon session actually ensured that the United States would not be the first team in 20 years to sweep badminton gold at the Pan Am Games.

Top seeds fill the void

Team USA still has a chance to sweep the doubles gold, however.  Phillip Chew and Sattawat Pongnairat are not only the top seeds, but they are also thriving in the absence of 3-time Pan Am Champions Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng.  The Canadians were disqualified on the eve of the tournament because their association had entered them in the Chinese Taipei Open.

Although Liu and Ng were withdrawn from the concurrent Grand Prix Gold event on June 19th, the conflicting entries resulted in their disqualification from the Toronto Games and the 2014 Pan Am runners-up became the clear favourites. Chew and Pongnairat won both of their matches in straight games but for gold, they must beat Brazil’s Arthuso and Paiola, against whom they have a 50 percent winning ratio.

Gold medal match line-up – Wednesday
WD: Eva Lee / Paula Lynn Obanana (USA) [1] vs. Lohaynny Vicente / Luana Vicente (BRA) [2]
MD: Phillip Chew / Sattawat Pongnairat (USA) [1] vs. Hugo Arthuso / Daniel Paiola (BRA)
Gold medal match line-up – Thursday
WS: Michelle Li (CAN) [1] vs. Rachel Honderich (CAN) [4]
XD: Phillip Chew / Jamie Subandhi (USA) [1] vs. Toby Ng / Alex Bruce (CAN) [2]
MS: Kevin Cordon (GUA) [3] vs. Andrew D’Souza (CAN)

Click here for complete semi-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @