Badminton: Nagahara, Matsumoto set for Tokyo Olympics as Takahashi retires

Elwanda Tulloch

Mayu Matsumoto, left, and Wakana Nagahara of Japan, who won the women’s doubles title at the 2019 world badminton championships in Basel, Switzerland, attend a press conference at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Aug. 27, 2019, upon their return from the trip. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japanese women’s doubles badminton pair Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto all but punched their tickets to the postponed Tokyo Games next summer after Rio de Janeiro Olympic champion Ayaka Takahashi announced her retirement on Wednesday.

Nagahara and Matsumoto, the winners of back-to-back world championships in 2018 and 2019, are set to follow Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in claiming one of Japan’s two berths. Their world No. 2 ranked compatriots essentially sealed their spot in March when they won the All England Open.

Both pairs are readying to make their first Olympic appearances after Takahashi’s retirement guaranteed they will remain the two highest-ranked Japanese pairs

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