- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 13, 2008

From staff and wire reports

BEIJING | Bob Malaythong of Rockville was a part of history Tuesday morning during the opening round of the Olympic men’s doubles badminton tournament.

When Malaythong and Howard Bach defeated South Africa’s Chris and Roelof Dednam 21-10, 21-6, they became the first American team to advance to the quarterfinals.

Since badminton became an official Olympic sport in 1992, the United States has never earned a medal.

“We play better as the underdogs; today we were the favorites, so there was a lot of pressure on us to win,” Malaythong said. “We did it, but we just got by.”

Next up for Malaythong and Bach is a match against the Chinese team of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (the tournament’s second seed) on Wednesday.

“We’ll play so much better because we’re the underdog and having nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Malaythong said.

All of the badminton sessions at the 10,000-seat Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium are sold out, something Malaythong certainly noticed.

“This is probably the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of,” he said. “Nothing could really prepare me for this. I do visualization and energy to really prepare for this moment, but when you get out there, it’s totally different.”

SOFTBALL

BEIJING | The U.S. softball team picked up where it left off four years ago as Jennie Finch pitched five no-hit innings and the Americans hit three home runs - one an inside-the-parker by Caitlin Lowe - to rock Olympic newcomer Venezuela 11-0 in its tournament opener.

The Americans set an Olympic record for runs and won their 15th straight Olympic game.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

SHENYANG, China | Heather O’Reilly scored less than a minute into the match to lead the United States to a 4-0 win over New Zealand and a spot in the quarterfinals.

O’Reilly put the defending champions on the board 40 seconds into the match, firing a long-range right-footer over New Zealand goalkeeper Jenny Bindon. The other U.S. goals were scored by Amy Rodriguez just before halftime and Lindsay Tarpley and Angela Hucles in the second half.

SHOOTING

BEIJING | American Glenn Eller won the gold medal in double trap shooting, building a solid lead during qualifying and then hitting 45 of 50 targets in the final round.

EQUESTRIAN

HONG KONG | German Hinrich Romeike, riding Marius, won the individual gold medal in equestrian eventing.

His score of 54.2 penalty points edged U.S. rider Gina Miles on McKinlaigh for silver with 56.1.

Kristina Cook of Britain took the bronze on Miners Frolic with 57.4, moving up from seventh.

WATER POLO

BEIJING | The Americans, ranked ninth in the world and trying to get back on the medal stand for the first time since 1988, upset Italy 12-11, with Jeffrey Powers scoring three goals and Tony Azevedo adding two.

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