Pakistan's Mahoor Shahzad loses badminton opener at Tokyo Olympics

Shuttler beaten 21-3 and 21-8 by Japan's Akane Yamaguchi


Sports Desk July 24, 2021

Pakistani badminton player Mahoor Shahzad kicked-off country's 2020 Olympic campaign with a 21-3 and 21-8 defeat against world number five Akane Yamaguchi in Tokyo on Saturday.

Mahoor was outplayed by the Japanese opponent in the best of three games, round one match in just 23 minutes. Yamaguchi took only 10 minutes to win the first game 21-3.

However, Mahoor showed some resistance in the second game, but only to lose that too by a score of 21-8.

The dominance of Mahoor's Japanese opponent can be measured by the fact that the Pakistani shuttler was unable to win two consecutive points throughout the match. Meanwhile, Yamaguchi scored eight consecutive points in the first game and seven on the trot in the second game.

Other than that, Mahoor was able to bag only two points with her service, while Yamaguchi made complete use of her service and bagged 18 and 15 points with her service in first and second game, respectively.

Next up, Mahoor will face Britain’s Kirsty Gilmour on July 27.

Earlier, Mahoor's father Shahzad told The Express Tribune that it was an honour for the top Pakistani badminton player to even participate in the Olympics.

“Not only is she the first Pakistani to play at the Olympics’ badminton event, she is also doing the honours of bearing the flag. It is a dream come true,” Shahzad told The Express Tribune, adding that it is a big feat for any Pakistani to even find a place in the Olympics.

Mahoor had been representing Pakistan for the last couple of years. She rose to prominence with her performances at the national level first and then striving to find the participation at the international events. She was a part of Pakistan contingent in the 2018 Asian Games and also the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal.

She was ranked 133 in the world till June, and her father believes that her performances have made him proud, not just as a father but also as a man in Pakistan and a badminton player.

“I feel very proud of her, because no badminton player, even among men, qualified for the Olympics before. But she did. I can say that a girl did beat the boys in this,” said Shahzad, as he looks back at Mahoor being athletic from a very young age and playing with her older sister throughout her childhood.

The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) had confirmed Mahoor’s place in the Tokyo Olympics last month and the POA chief Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan congratulated her on the achievement.

“Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan President POA felicitated Mahoor Shahzad and appreciated the POA Secretariat and Wajid Ali from Pakistan Badminton Federation for scrupulously following the process and completion of formalities. Pakistan Olympic Association has duly informed IOC and BWF of acceptance of Invitational Place,” the official statement was issued.

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