Iris Wang: Pro-Badminton Highlight

Who is Iris Wang?

Name: Iris Wang
Age: 26
Representing: Team USA
BWF World Tour Ranking: 52
Lefty/Righty: Righty

Early Life

Iris Wang was born in February of 1994 in Pasadena, California.  She began playing badminton at the age of 8 after discovering it at a backyard birthday party. (The irony!) She demanded lessons from her parents and they paid off quickly.  She played her first junior tournament at the age of 9.  Her international debut was in 2010 at the Uber Cup.  It was the year she became a National Team Member.  Iris attended Arcadia High School, but her tournament schedule took her on the road for weeks at a time.  She enrolled in an online high school to work around her traveling.  Iris graduated with a 4.0 GPA from that high school and was chosen as valedictorian of her graduating class.

Badminton was a hobby that ran in the family.  Iris’ sister Rena was also a phenomenal professional badminton player and competed (by herself) at the Summer Olympics in London in 2012.  Iris followed in her sister’s footsteps and represented Team USA during a banner year in Rio in 2016 when the USA sent the biggest qualifying team ever for the sport of badminton.  She qualified for the Rio Olympics as a self-funded athlete through a series of grueling tournaments that took her away from her graduate studies at UCLA.  

Iris ended up being the last athlete on Team USA to be knocked out of the medal running in Rio and returned to her studies following that loss.  She played badminton for UCLA but did not compete in international tournaments for almost three years.  Iris graduated from college in 2019.  

Current Status

Iris clearly missed the competitive circuit and returned to participate in several international tournaments before the pandemic shut down badminton across the globe.  She made a surprising appearance at the 2019 Sudirman Cup.  While Wang has not expressed pointed interest in chasing after Tokyo, she did acknowledge the joy she felt competing with Team USA at the Sudirman Cup. 

Wang has previously expressed the impact that professional badminton has had on her character, her life, and her academics saying, “…athletes learn how to deal with failure and be resilient and how to work with a goal in mind and that translates into other areas of life like academics.”

Bragging Rights

  • In April of 2016, Iris Wang was ranked #30 in the world in women’s singles.
  • She was the number one ranked women’s singles competitor in the USA in 2016.
  • She competed in the Summer Olympics in Rio in 2016
  • Bronze Medal – 2019 K & D Graphics INternational Challenge in women’s singles
  • Bronze Medal – 2019 Yonex Sunrise Bangladesh International Challenge in women’s singles
  • Gold Medal – 2019 Maldives International Challenge 2019 in women’s singles
  • Bronze Medal – 2019 Pan Am Games Lima 2019 in women’s singles
  • Bronze Medal – 2019 Russian Open in women’s singles

Blast from the Past

Check out Iris Wang competing at the young age of 17 in the Uber Cup.  She and her sister were both competing in this tournament.

Sources:

https://www.teamusa.org/usa-badminton/athletes/iris-wang
https://bwfbadminton.com/player/57798/iris-wang
https://bwfsudirmancup.bwfbadminton.com/news-single/2019/05/19/iris-wang-unable-to-resist-badmintons-lure?fbclid=IwAR3e2io6bcBV-MAvergzTDrFmPqUNFwFnMQCrcWko_opAy0IC8mzlKQJhcQ

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