Fighting through an epic match against Australia in the playoff round, Junior Team USA finished 20th place out of the 35 countries that participated in the BWF World Junior Mixed Team Championship on April 11.
The US had one victory in the group round against Vietnam (0-5, loss), China (0-5, loss) and Slovenia (5-0, win) giving them the chance to go into the playoff round against Australia.
None of the matches against Australia were settled with two games, with the round tied 2-2. In the decisive fifth match, the US Mixed Doubles team Aston Khor and Anna Tang were down 17-19 in the third game, before storming back with 4 winners in a row to give Team USA an epic victory, which lasted 4 hours and 30 minutes.
“We all went in to compete with the attitude of playing to win, playing hard, and playing smart all the way,” Head Coach Andy Chong said.
The victory put Team USA in the 17-20th place final stage round with England, Netherland, and neighboring Canada.
The round against England was also tied at 2-2 with the results from the Women’s Doubles to decide the outcome. Crystal Pan and Victoria Chen from the US led the first game 19-16 but were not able to pull it off. The England pair was “slightly more experienced”. Pan and Chen came back to win the second game 21-16, but lost in the final game 14-21.
Team USA had a final match against Canada on the final day for the 19th place. They fought well but lost 0-3. Some of the players had to leave before the match because of school.
“I am quite happy with everyones performance even though there were some ups and downs with some top badminton players,” said coach Chong. “When there is an opportunity to win the rally, grab it. When there is no opportunity, create the opportunity. Play to win the match and play to win the crowd, with that attitude, you will perform well.”
China won the first place with Indonesia in second place, with Japan and Thailand sharing third place.
Individual tournament will start Sunday, April 13.