Han, Van Heiland Lose Opening Matches
ATLANTA (AP) _ Both American entries in the Olympics singles badminton tournaments lost their opening-round matches Wednesday.
Peter Knowles of Britain rallied to beat Kevin Han of Colorado Springs, Colo., 2-15, 15-10, 15-7.
Erika Van Heiland, also of Colorado Springs, Colo. was eliminated on the women’s side. Taiwan’s Jeng Shwu-zen defeated her 11-6, 11-2 in 20 minutes.
The Olympic badminton tournament began with men’s and women’s singles in a single-elimination tournament. Doubles also will be contested.
Han, a top junior badminton player in China before he emigrated to the United States almost seven years ago, felt he could beat Knowles.
``I played him last year and felt that I had a better chance of beating him this time, even though I’m ranked 65 and he is ranked 26,″ Han said.
In other men’s action, Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen of Denmark opened with an easy 15-2, 15-2 victory over Kayode Akinsanya of Nigeria.
Stuer-Lauridsen was the non-Asian to gain a medal at the Olympics four years ago with a bronze. The gold medals were split between Indonesia and South Korea in 1992.