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Japan sending nine badminton players to Rio Olympics

Kyodo

Women’s doubles pair Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo have been named among the nine members for this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Thursday by the Nippon Badminton Association.

The pair, who won the All-England Championships in March, was ranked No. 1 in the latest world rankings released by the World Badminton Federation.

In the women’s singles, fifth-ranked Nozomi Okuhara, who like Takahashi and Matsutomo triumphed in England, and 11th-ranked 18-year-old Akane Yamaguchi claimed their spots.

Among the men, 27th-ranked Sho Sasaki has booked his ticket in the singles after fourth-ranked Kento Momota was removed from the rankings after he received an indefinite suspension last month for gambling at illegal casinos in Japan.

Sasaki will be the only Japanese shuttler to take part in two successive Summer Games this time. Seventh-ranked pair Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa clinched the berth in the men’s doubles.

Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara will represent Japan in the mixed doubles.