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First badminton player named to U.S. Olympic team for Tokyo

Beiwen Zhang

US player Zhang Beiwen returns against Thailand’s Supanida Katethong during their All England Open Badminton Championships second round women’s singles match in Birmingham, central England, on March 18, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Beiwen Zhang is the first badminton player named to the U.S. Olympic team for Tokyo.

Zhang, 30 and the world’s 14th-ranked player, grew up in China and moved to the U.S. in 2013. She is the first of whom USA Badminton hopes is multiple players on the team.

More invitations could be sent out to nations based on which National Olympic Committees accept spots by June 25.

The U.S. had seven badminton players for the 2016 Rio Games -- one entry each in men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles -- with a best finish of tied for ninth.

The U.S. has never earned an Olympic medal in badminton, which debuted as a medal sport at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

The last time the U.S. sent a team of one athlete in any sport to an Olympics was for the 2000 Sydney Games, also in badminton.

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