The Korean youngsters seem to be ready for the World Junior Championships held next month in Guadalajara, Mexico.  After the German Junior they head back to Seoul with no fewer […]

The Korean youngsters seem to be ready for the World Championships held next month in Guadalajara, Mexico.  After the German they head back to Seoul with no fewer than four titles.  Absolute stars of the tournament were Choi Hye In and Kang Ji Wook, who became successful in three and two events respectively.  Only Denmark’s young up and comer Viktor Axelsen was able to interrupt the Korean winning streak.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto.com (archives)

One of Korean fans’ most popular stadium chants includes the words “segye choi-kang” but even if that phrase’s original meaning is ‘world’s strongest’, it could just as easily have applied to the two Korean youngsters who nearly cleaned house in Berlin on Sunday.

In fact, two powerhouses not only shared the five golds, but there was also little room for the other participating countries to progress further than the semis.  Bearing in mind that there were no Chinese, Dutch, Indonesian or Malaysian delegations attending this year’s edition.  Poon Lok Yan was the only contender on finals day not representing either Denmark or Korea.  The teenager from Hong Kong made it to the quarter-finals last year, while her 2010 finals opponent Choi Hye In had surprisingly lost against Yan’s compatriot Ying Suet Tse.  No bolt from the blue this year as Choi crushed her opponent in about 25 minutes 21-5, 21-11.

In the second all-Asian encounter, the Korean leading light claimed her second title this time against her fellow citizens Kim Chan Mi / Ko Eun Byul.  Choi already won with Lee Se Rang last year, but now teamed up with Lee So Hee.  She became a runner-up in the girls’ singles last year at the tender age of 14.  The top-seeded Choi and Lee (pictured top) had had very few problems throughout the tournament, winning every match so far in straight games.  The final was no exception to that rule, as they easily defeated Kim and Ko 21-16, 21-14.

The first of three clashes between Korea and Denmark had to be settled in the mixed doubles.  With yet again, Choi Hye In on one side of the net now united with partner Kang Ji Wook.  Their challengers were Emil Holst, the current European Junior Champion, and Ditte Strunge Larsen.  The two sides gave it their very best and it took the Korean pair almost an hour to finish it off 21-19, 17-21, 21-12 after three exhilarating games.

Could Viktor Axelsen (pictured above) turn the tables in the men’s singles?  If Jan O Jorgensen is assigned to be Peter Gade’s successor, he should himself be preparing to someday cede that spot to the next in line, 16-year-old Axelsen.  Being one of Denmark’s most gifted youngster, he already let everyone know just how great he can be at the Swedish International earlier this year.  Entered in his first EBU circuit tournament, he made it straight from the qualifications to the final.  His adversary on Sunday, Kang Ji Wook, nevertheless was a semi-finalist at the German Junior last year and was keen on earning his second gold medal of the day.  Unfortunately for him Axelsen was just better, giving the Danish delegation their first title of the day by winning the contest in straight games 21-11, 21-13.

Only one match left with four young men struggling for the men’s doubles title.  Rasmus Fladberg, son of living legend Steen Fladberg, competed alongside Kim Astrup in an attempt to offer the Danes a second victory.  However Choi Seung Il and Kang Ji Wook (pictured) – the latter playing in his third final of the day – were ready to prevent that from happening.  In a rather one-sided match, which ended 21-12, 21-17 in about half an hour, the Korean men proved to be well prepared for the World Junior Championships, as is the rest of their team.

The Koreans will first stop by next week in Kuala Lumpur for the Asian Junior Championships, where Choi and Kang will compete in singles to qualify for the Singapore Youth Olympics, which will include no doubles competition. Poon will not be there, however, nor will Axelsen be competing to represent Europe in Singapore.

For complete results from the 2010 Wilson German Junior, CLICK HERE


About Elm Vandevorst