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Akane Yamaguchi, Nozomi Okuhara book Tokyo Olympics berths


Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara have ensured their places at the Tokyo Olympics by advancing Thursday to the women’s singles quarterfinals at the All England Open Badminton Championships.

World No. 3 Yamaguchi beat compatriot Sayaka Takahashi 21-13, 21-15 in the round of 16, while fourth-ranked Okuhara defeated Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt 21-12, 21-16.

Both Yamaguchi, 22, and Okuhara, 25, secured qualification for a second consecutive Summer Olympics.

In the women’s doubles, the world No. 2 pair of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara, as well as the No. 3 combination of Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota, head into the quarterfinals.

Final qualification for the Olympics will be based on the Badminton World Federation rankings. As the host nation, Japan is entitled to enter a man and woman in each of the Olympic tournaments, but additional Japanese players can enter by meeting the qualification standards.

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