KOREAN NATIONALS – Ha has Last Laugh

Ha Jung Eun, playing in two finals for the third time this year on Korean soil, finally scored her doubles double, beating her former partner Kim Min Jung both times.  […]

Ha Jung Eun, playing in two finals for the third time this year on Korean soil, finally scored her doubles double, beating her former partner Kim Min Jung both times.  Bae Youn Joo continued her run of good form, taking her first title while Park Sung Hwan managed his second.

Story and photos (archives): Don Hearn

Ha Jung Eun and Ko Sung Hyun (pictured) had their first taste of glory this year when they shocked the field and reached the mixed doubles final of the All England Badminton Championships.  Unfortunately, she would be destined to spend most of the year settling for second best.  Most recently, at the Hwasun International, she came up short in both women’s and mixed doubles and things continued to go south for her when, after 3 consecutive weeks of playing both disciplines, she and Ko has a disappointing three straight losses at the Super Series Masters Finals in Johor Bahru.

In fact, the last time Ha had been in a national championship final was in 2005 when she and Lee Yong Dae, the reigning Asian Junior Champions, were outclassed by then world #1 Lee Jae Jin / Lee Hyo Jung.  Ha made up for it on Sunday, however, benefiting from the absence of the current world #1 mixed pair.  However, her first task was to secure the women’s doubles title, which she and Park Sun Young did with ease, beating Kim Min Jung and Jang Hye Ock 21-19, 21-12.

In the last match of the day, Ha and Ko took the first game quickly but couldn’t hold on in the second, losing by a nose 22-24 to Kim and Yoo Yeon Seong.  Nor did the two pairs spare the crowd any thrills as they traded blows right down to the wire until Ko and Ha finally took their first title together, winning the decider 24-22.

Yoo was spared the double disappointment suffered by his partner Kim, something that had already befallen him at home in April when he lost finals to two Olympic champions in one day at the Badminton Asia Championships.  In the men’s doubles on Sunday, Yoo and Kim Dae Sung got the better of Hwang Ji Man and Shin Baek Cheol 21-19, 21-15.

Bae Youn Joo (pictured) has been having a very successful autumn.  In addition to taking the singles titles at both the Singapore and Hwasun Internationals, she helped KT&G to the women’s team title at the National Sports Fest on her nineteenth birthday in October.  Although her recent success has come at a time when she has been left off the national team, her win on Sunday was achieved without a single victory over a national team player.  In the final, she overcame Seo Yoon Hee, relegating the 25-year-old veteran to the runner-up position for the fourth time since 2002.  Next month, Bae will once again be flying the KT&G colours as a guest star in an international tournament as she is entered in the Victor Korea Open Super Series.

Park Sung Hwan (pictured) was himself a runner-up at this tournament’s last two editions, in 2005 and 2006, losing to Lee Hyun Il on both occasions.  Park also lost to Lee in the semi-finals in 2003 and his only national title came when Lee Hyun Il sat the tournament out the following year.  Park confronted that demon on Friday, though, when he bounced Lee Hyun Il from the competition in the quarter-finals with a 23-21, 21-15 victory.  The final went much more smoothly for the world #9 shuttler as he saw off the challenge from Hong Ji Hoon 21-12, 21-15.

Complete Results

WD: Ha Jung Eun / Park Sun Young bt Kim Min Jung / Jang Hye Ock 21-19, 21-12
MD: Yoo Yeon Seong / Kim Dae Sung bt Hwang Ji Man / Shin Baek Cheol 21-19, 21-15
MS: Park Sung Hwan bt Hong Ji Hoon 21-12, 21-15
WS: Bae Youn Joo bt Seo Yoon Hee 21-19 , 21-11
XD: Ha Jung Eun / Ko Sung Hyun bt Kim Min Jung / Yoo Yeon Seong 21-13, 22-24, 24-22

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net