TOKYO, Jul 29 (Yonhap) – South Korea secured at least one bronze medal in the women’s badminton doubles event at the Tokyo Olympics as two South Korean teams qualified on Thursday for the semi-finals.
Kim So-yeong and Kong Hee-yong defeated Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara of Japan 2-1 (21-14, 14-21, 28-26) in the quarter-finals at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. Hours later, Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan defeated Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen of the Netherlands 2-0 (21-8, 21-17) in the quarter-finals as well.
Lee and Shin will face Indonesian tandem Greysia Polii and Aprlyani Rahayu in the semi-finals on Saturday. Kim and Kong will face the winner of the last quarterfinal match between Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota of Japan and Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan of China.
With the two South Korean teams on either side of the table, they will only be able to meet in the game for the gold medal or the bronze medal.
Kim and Kong, ranked fifth in the world, fought the second-ranked Japanese pair hard for three sets.
In the first set, the South Koreans led 11-2 at one point. Matsumoto and Nagahara then closed the gap to 15-10, but couldn’t close it.
The Japanese returned the favor in the second set, scoring the first four points and winning 21-14.
Kim and Kong trailed for most of the third set, and the Japanese had one match point at 20-19.
The South Koreans forced the tie and, at 26-26, they scored the last two points for the victory.
Lee and Shin had a much easier time in their quarterfinals. They won the first set 21-8 in just 16 minutes. They took a 16-8 lead in the second set, and won the game in 41 minutes.
South Korea haven’t won gold in the women’s doubles since Chung So-young and Hwang Hye-young won the inaugural title in 1992.