Timothy Lam and Beiwen Zhang Make Their Olympic Debut on Day 2 at Tokyo 2020
Two players for the U.S. made their Olympic debut on Sunday, July 25th, as men’s singles player Timothy Lam and women’s singles player Beiwen Zhang played simultaneously on adjacent courts in the late afternoon session of matches.
Timothy Lam faced off against No. 1 seed Kento Momota from Japan, a difficult challenge for any player. Lam held his own early in both games but ultimately lost 12-21 and 9-21. Despite the losses, he held his own in a multitude of long rallies against the Japanese shuttler. One highlight-worthy rally featured a save on all fours, a blocked smash with a full spin, and finally a net shot that tumbled over the net to set up a lift over Momota’s head for the point as the American undeniably gave his all throughout the match.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve getting from family and friends,” a grateful Lam said after the game. “I’m getting a lot of messages each day and I’m just really blessed and thankful for their support. Hopefully I can do well in the next match.”
Lam will face Korea’s Heo Kwang-hee tomorrow at 6:40 PM JST (5:40 AM EDT). “[I] haven’t really thought about it yet,” he said on the topic. “I’ve just been really focused on Kento right now, but I’m going to go back right now and just take a rest and get my mind ready for tomorrow.”
In women’s singles, Beiwen Zhang began her Olympic play against Marija Ulitina from Ukraine. Zhang faced a shaky start to the first match, trading leads with her Olympic-experienced opponent. Just before the first 11-point interval, the American began to hit her groove and her thunderous smashes and control paved the way for a win, 21-12 and 21-7.
Zhang, who has faced a difficult road to reach her first Olympics, expressed her gratitude to those who never wavered in their support and belief in her. “I’m really happy that they’re supporting me because I’ve [been] representing the U.S. for 8 years and they’re always sending me messages no matter where I am,” she said. “They’re always really supportive and positive, so obviously I’m really glad that they help me so much and [are] supporting me all the time even when I’m down or up.”
Next up for the U.S. are Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew facing Japan’s Kamura Takeshi and Sonoda Keigo tomorrow in men’s doubles scheduled for 10 AM JST (9 PM EDT, July 25th) and Timothy Lam’s men’s singles match against Korea’s Heo Kwang-hee scheduled for 6:40 PM JST (5:40 AM EDT).
Check out the Tokyo 2020 badminton men’s doubles and men’s singles draw here.