KOREA GP 2014 Finals – World #1s beat World Champions

World #1 Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong won their World Championship final rematch as Yoo was joined by Shin Seung Chan in grabbing a hometown title, something that […]

World #1 Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong won their World Championship final rematch as Yoo was joined by Shin Seung Chan in grabbing a hometown title, something that Shin did twice.

Story and photos by Don Hearn, live in Jeonju

After being eclipsed at this year’s BWF World Badminton Championships by their team-mates Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol, Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong refused to let their rematch slip away from them.  They beat Ko and Shin in two high-powered games to win the Victor Korea in Yoo’s hometown of Jeonju.

It was the fourth victory in the pair’s last seven tournaments, in every one of which they advanced to the final.  In fact, for Yoo Yeon Seong, it was the 5th title in 8 straight international finals and his 7th title in 10 straight finals, if you include the two domestic tournaments he has won since April, both of which also entailed beating world top ten players.

“When we played our team-mates in the World Championships, we had beaten them before and we knew their game very well,” explained Lee Yong Dae after the final.  “On the other hand, we were feeling the pressure of being expected to win that final and that made it difficult to play.

“This time, we were able to relax and play our game and I think that’s why it went our way.”

As for the upcoming Superseries Finals, it will be the first time competing in that event with Yeon Seong so we plan to prepare well for it and we hope to win.

“Before we can get there, though, we have the China and Hong Kong Opens in the next two weeks.  We are going into those as the world #1 pair and we hope to live up to that status.”

Asked about his impressive record at the China Open, Lee Yong Dae couldn’t even remember offhand how many titles he had won there, which turns out to be 4 men’s doubles, plus two mixed doubles titles: “It is strange.  It even goes back to when I won the gold there at the Beijing Olympics.  For some reason, I’ve just always played well in China.  I am always able to concentrate better when I play there and I think that even my physical condition gets better when I go to China.

“Now whenever I go there, because of the past success, my mood improves and just overall, the conditions seem to be right for me to play well there.”

Shin takes two golds while Shin settles for two silvers

When Jang Ye Na was forced to retire from the women’s doubles final, it gifted Shin Seung Chan her first and second career Grand Prix titles. The titles even came in her home province, although friends and family were prevented from witnessing her in action in a complete final.

Meanwhile, Shin Baek Cheol, who had been a beneficiary the last time Jang was hobbled by an injury during a final at Korea’s autumn Grand Prix, was left with not one, but two silver medals after finishing runner-up in the men’s doubles final.

For Shin Seung Chan, it was a long overdue Grand Prix title.  Her World Junior Championship partner Lee So Hee preceded her by a few months when she won this year’s Canada Open with Choi Hye In and three of the Chinese players they dominated in their junior days have already won Grand Prix Gold titles.  Now Shin finally has hers, after three Grand Prix gold runner-up finishes and a World Championship bronze since she and Lee won their second World Junior title.

“I knew that the Chinese girls had won Grand Prix tournaments,” said Shin after being awarded her first gold medal of the day, “but I’ve never thought, well, they’re winning titles so we have to too.  Instead, I’ve focused on winning each match and I always think it will be great to win the tournaments I enter, but I haven’t really focused attention on what the Chinese players have accomplished.

“In the future, though, I think having won a tournament like this one, I’ll have more confidence going into the coming tournaments.”

Final results
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1] beat Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol (KOR) [2]  21-18, 21-19
WD: Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) [1] beat Jang Ye Na / Yoo Hae Won (KOR) [5]  15-8 [Retired]
WS: Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) [6] beat Sayaka Sato (JPN) [7]  21-17, 21-13
MS: Lee Dong Keun (KOR) [1] beat Lee Hyun Il (KOR) [5]  21-18, 24-22
XD: Choi Sol Kyu / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) [6] beat Shin Baek Cheol / Jang Ye Na (KOR) [5]  [walkover]

Click here for complete 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 @ badzine.net