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Preview of April events // BADMINTON

Selection: Team to be announced April 15.

About the sport: It became an Olympic sport at the 1992 Games. It is played much like tennis and scored similar to volleyball (best-of-three 15-point games). A 1993 survey found that 1.2-million Americans play at least 25 times a year. A match typically lasts a little more than an hour. Indonesia, Korea and China dominate the sport.

Classes: Men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles, mixed doubles.

How qualifying works: The top 36 International Badminton Federation world-ranked men and women, plus wild card entrants, are chosen for singles. The top 20 world-ranked doubles and mixed doubles teams, plus wild card entrants, are selected. No nation is allowed more than six athletes _ three men, three women. The United States is guaranteed at least two men and two women. Selections are based on rankings.

Best U.S. chance for a medal: Kevin Han, men's singles. At the 1996 Chinese-Tai Pei Open, he upset then-21st ranked George Rimarodi 15-7, 15-7.

Up-and-comer: The men's doubles team of Kevin Han-Tom Reidy. They won the 1995 Bulgarian Open for the United States' first title in a world grand prix event. They have been ranked as high as 25th in the world.

Did you know? The shuttlecock is made of real goose feathers. Only six or seven specific feathers from the left and right wings of a goose can be used, thus three geese can produce two shuttlecocks. The shuttlecocks come in various weights and speeds, and typically are only able to withstand two games.

Most memorable Olympic moment: The U.S. team qualified the maximum six athletes when the sport debuted at the 1992 Games.

Quote: "Our goal is to have an athlete reach the second round. With a light draw and a little luck, we might have a couple of athletes make it to the third round." _ Ignatius Rusli, assistant national team coach.

_ DARRELL FRY

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