On the first day of badminton competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Phillip and Ryan Chew of the United States will take on Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China.
The Chinese are ranked sixth, while the Chews are ranked 35th. However, this hasn’t deterred the brothers.
“Phillip and I are aware that we are underdogs in the competition,” Ryan, 24 said. However, “a medal is still obviously the goal,” as I’m sure the rest of our squad and everyone else here for the Games would agree.
R. Chew Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The United States has yet to win a medal in badminton, one of only a handful of sports in which it has failed to do so. Winning gold would boost the sport’s profile, which in turn would assist athletes attract sponsors and grow their fan bases.
Badminton has a massive fan base in Asia, particularly in countries like Indonesia, China, and Japan. Between the years 1992 and 2016, Asian competitors earned 92 of a possible 106 medals at the Olympic Games.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen will give Japan’s favourite, Kento Momota, a run for his money in the men’s singles, and Spain’s Carolina Marin won the women’s singles gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, the United States has never had much success in rallying badminton enthusiasts, and the difficulty of attracting new members during the pandemic has only made things more difficult.
Some clubs have closed permanently or temporarily due to COVID, but I believe the desire is still there and that people want to play. So it’s going to be rebuilding,” said Rio 2016 Olympian and Phillip Chew’s former mixed doubles partner Jamie Subandhi.
The Orange County, California duo The Chews are currently the best doubles team in the United States. Although they had competed in a few events together as youngsters, Phillip (now 27) claims that they didn’t begin working together until 2018.
“Some people tell us they would never be able to play with their sister, but for us, we do a fantastic job of communicating with each other, whether it’s ideas about our game or style, so it works out for the two of us,” Ryan said.
It is an honour to be one of the six sets of siblings competing for the United States at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.