Pan Am gold-medal favourites disqualified over Badminton Canada administrative error
Canada has lost 2 potential medals at this year's Pan Am Games in Ontario, including a gold
Two Vancouver athletes who were favourites to win a gold medal in the Pan Am Games have been disqualified from the tournament in Toronto due to an administrative error.
Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng were disqualified because Badminton Canada mistakenly entered them into a tournament that overlapped with the Games, and that's in violation of a Badminton World Federation regulation.
Liu and Ng were told the bad news on Canada Day.
"Not only were we completely devastated, we were pretty much speechless and almost couldn't grasp what was happening at that time," said Ng.
Ng said the organization had entered the pair in the Taipei Open, which takes place July 14-19, rather than the Taipei Grand Prix, which is Oct. 13-18.
Liu said the fact this year's Pan Am Games are being held in their home country made the situation even worse.
"Winning in front of the home crowd, it's something different than being away and winning," said Liu.
Liu and Ng have won the Pan Am Championship in men's doubles for the past three years. Ng is also last year's Pan Am Championship mixed doubles gold medallist.
Canada is not sending a replacement men's doubles team.
Badminton Canada said it tried to appeal the BWF decision but was unsuccessful.
A costly error
This incident also puts Liu's and Ng's run for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games in jeopardy because the Pan Am Games are one of the major points-earning tournaments.
"This is our most important tournament during the Olympic qualification year," said Ng.
But the duo are surprisingly calm about the situation.
"I really don't want to be playing the blame game," said Ng.
Canada is still sending six badminton athletes to this year's Pan Am Games, including Ng's brother, Toby. He is a favourite to earn a medal in mixed doubles, and Michelle Li is a heavy favourite to win the women's singles event.
As for Liu and Ng, they will be cheering on their teammates from their old training base in Richmond, B.C. They currently split their time between there and Jakarta, Indonesia, where they train full time with former Olympic silver medallist, Trikus Harjanto.
"We just have got to look forward and stay positive in order to keep training and keep playing well. Because if we don't, there's no way to come back and qualify for the Olympics," said Ng.