WORLDS 2013 SF – Eom and Jang on another Guangdong roll!

Eom Hye Won and Jang Ye Na became the first Korean women’s doubles pair in 14 years to reach a BWF World Badminton Championship final by being the first Koreans […]

Eom Hye Won and Jang Ye Na became the first Korean women’s doubles pair in 14 years to reach a BWF World Badminton Championship final by being the first Koreans to beat Olympic champions Tian/Zhao.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Guangzhou.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The last time Eom Hye Won was in Guangdong, she got busy winning two gold medals at the Shenzhen Universiade.  With the same two partners, Eom has decided to make a go of it on an even bigger stage, vying for entry today to two finals at the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships.

The first obstacle to any dreams of a finals appearance for either Eom Hye Won or her partner Jang Ye Na was an imposing one, in the person of the great Zhao Yunlei.  Zhao herself came to the courts in Guangzhou’s Tianhe Gymnasium vying to repeat her double gold medal performance from last summer’s London Olympics and she had already beaten Jang Ye Na in mixed doubles late Friday evening.  What’s more, Zhao and partner Tian Qing had never before lost to any Korean pair.

In addition, were Eom and Jang to rise to the challenge, they would become the first Koreans to make a World Championship women’s doubles final since Chung Jae Hee and Ra Kyung Min did it way back in 1999.  However, Eom and Jang were aware of neither the 14-year finals drought nor of Tian/Zhao’s unbeaten streak against their compatriots.

“We’re so happy that we won,” said Jang Ye Na after the match, “but the tournament still isn’t over yet so we have to focus on playing our best right to the end so we can keep feeling this way.”

Jang said they were not aware of the problems with their physical condition that their opponents complained of: “This was the first time we’d played this pair so we really couldn’t read something like that.  We were just focusing on how we ourselves were playing.

“We knew that the Chinese players were very fast so we felt the key was to try to deal with that.  Toward the end of the match, they caught up to us and we started to feel pressure but the coach told us to start varying our strokes to try to disrupt their game.

Eom and Jang are one of four pairs that had been split up earlier this year and then reunited in order to maximize Korea’s participation at the Worlds.  Now they have made the most of the opportunity and pushed all the way to the final.

“We really didn’t think we’d make it to the final,” said Jang.  “We just played one match, did our best and believed in each other, and won, and then concentrated on the next match and so on and here were are now in the final.”

“Today our opponents successfully controlled two baselines, especially when they were at upwind half court, we found it very difficult to play,” said Tian Qing.  “They prepared some tactics targeting on us, but we did not adjust ours accordingly.  Sometimes we even lost our patience.

“During the interval of the second game, our coach advised us to be patient, and we did so to level the score, but then we lost our concentration on target strategy.”

“The main reason for the defeat is a lack of stamina,” added Zhao Yunlei.  “Since I have been playing two events (women’s and mixed doubles) every day, after I’ve finished my matches, it has already been very late in the evening, and I could not sleep very well for the past few days.  This situation affected my form today.

“But still it’s because we have some weaknesses.  This match was not supposed to be so difficult.  The Koreansare place-hitters, and are also quite good at playing long rallies.  To play with them, you need more stamina.  We once tried to speed up the pace, but could not carry through due to a lack of energy.”

Eom and Zhao will each now attempt to reach the final in mixed doubles while Jang will try to relax and not think too much about the impending showdown, most likely with the might defending champions.

Click here for complete semi-final results

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 @