China withdraws entry of Olympic champion duo Tian and Zhao

The withdrawal will end Zhao’s shot of becoming the first player to achieve a badminton Olympic ‘double double’ - a two-gold haul in successive Olympics.

Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing won the women's doubles gold medal at London 2012.   -  Getty Images

Olympic champions Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei will not be able to defend their badminton women’s doubles gold medal in next month’s Rio Olympics as the China’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) has withdrawn their entry.

Tian and Zhao’s place in the competition has been taken by their compatriots, World Number. 7 Luo Ying and Luo Yu. Zhao, however, will defend her mixed doubles gold medal with Zhang Nan.

The withdrawal will end Zhao’s shot of becoming the first player to achieve a badminton Olympic ‘double double’ - a two-gold haul in successive Olympics. The 29-year-old celebrated a double at the London Games partnering Tian Qing in women’s doubles and Zhang Nan in mixed doubles.

China’s challenge in women’s doubles will be led by women’s combine Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang who qualified third. The country has kept faith in its top two women’s singles players - London Olympic champion Li Xuerui and her final opponent Wang Yihan. Wang Shixian, who missed the last Olympics, will not make it to Rio this time too despite being ranked 6 on the qualification date.

The badminton draw ceremony will be held on July 26 and the seedings will be based on the World Rankings of July 21. The men’s singles competition will see 41 competitors taking part, while women’s singles has 40 players. All three doubles categories have 16 pairs each.

The Olympic Games badminton competition will be held from August 11 to August 20.