LONDON – Japan’s four-time national champion Kenichi Tago suffered a first-round exit from the London Olympics badminton tournament on Monday, while the country’s women’s doubles team also dropped their group-round match.
Tago lost to Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka 21-18, 21-16 at Wembley Arena in the men’s singles Group C action, knocking out Tago from the tournament as only the two were competing in the group.
“This can’t be. I feel pathetic,” said Tago, who was runnerup at the 2010 All England Open. “I couldn’t adjust because I didn’t know what was wrong. Perhaps my body was stiff.”
In the women’s doubles, Satoko Suetsuna and Miyuki Maeda fell to 2010 Asian Games champions Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei 21-16, 21-17 in Group D. China tops the four-team group at 2-0, followed by Japan and Denmark at 1-1.
The Japanese pair, who lost in the bronze medal match at the 2008 Beijing Games, will face Hong Kong’s Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet on Tuesday in their last group match, aiming to finish in the group’s top two for a spot in the quarterfinals.
“It was the typical losing pattern (where we got on the defensive), but I want to take it as a positive factor that we kept the match close at the beginning and got a rally going,” said Suetsuna, adding that she is thankful that they still have a chance to advance in the tournament.
Maeda said, “It wasn’t good that we were constantly on the defensive. We knew that the opponents had speed so we tried to keep our footwork going.”