• Kyodo News

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Popular badminton player Reiko Shiota is set to play mixed doubles with Shintaro Ikeda in the quest for the first Olympic badminton medal for Japan, the Nippon Badminton Association said Friday.

The move came five months after Shiota parted ways with women’s doubles partner Kumiko Ogura, who hoped to stay with Shiota for the 2012 London Olympics while Shiota preferred not to look ahead that far.

The “Ogu-Shio” doubles team, one of the biggest attractions for Japanese watchers of the Beijing Olympics last summer, advanced as far as the quarterfinals.

Shiota and Ikeda are scheduled to make their debut at the Sudirman Cup mixed team championships in Guangzhou, China, from May 10-17.

Both players won doubles bronze medals with their respective partners Ogura and Shuichi Sakamoto at the 2007 world championships in Kuala Lumpur.

Ikeda will continue his doubles partnership with Sakamoto as well.

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