UNIVERSIADE 2015 – Koreans take team gold

Korea fielded close to a national A Team in the mixed team event of the ongoing Gwangju Universiade.  They blanked China 3-0 to win their second straight gold in the […]

Korea fielded close to a national A Team in the mixed team event of the ongoing Gwangju .  They blanked China 3-0 to win their second straight gold in the event.

Story and photos: Don Hearn

Korea has always had a strong set of team players but in the case of the Summer Universiade, their take of one gold in 2007 and two in 2011 was followed up by a sharp increase, starting with the World Badminton Championships in 2012, where they started to include badminton stars who happened to also be students, rather than drawing merely from players who were members of badminton teams.

At the WUBC, held in Gwangju in the run-up to their present Universiade hosting duties, Korea took the mixed team gold and two more doubles titles.  They then followed that up in 2013 by taking 5 of 6 badminton golds on offer at the Kazan Universiade.

In the mixed team final of the 2015 Gwangju Universiade Badminton Mixed Team event on Wednesday, it was again Kim Ki Jung (pictured), winner of 2 individual titles in 2012 and one individual gold at the Kazan Universiade, who got Korea onto the winning foot.

Kim and mixed partner Shin Seung Chan have yet to make a real impact with their partnership in Grand Prix Gold and Superseries events but they found the winning formula against China’s Zhang Wen / Ou Dongni, particularly in the deciding game, which they won handily 21-7.

Next up was the men’s singles and China was represented by Gao Huan, the man whom veteran Lee Hyun Il had beaten to clinch the men’s team gold for the home team at last year’s Incheon Asian Games.  Gao just couldn’t handle world #9 Son Wan Ho and had to concede victory to Korean in just over half an hour.

It was three up, three down, for the Koreans as Lee Yong Dae, playing in his hometown of Hwasun, paired up with his partner from the 2013 Kazan gold-medal-winning effort to silence Bitburger Open champions Wang Yilu / Zhang Wen (pictured).  The Chinese pair, despite their tame loss to the Koreans, still have to be considered a main contender for the individual men’s doubles title, but they will have to figure out a way to deal with two dangerous pairs from the home team.

2015 Universiade Mixed Team Final: Korea 3, China 1
XD: Kim Gijung / Shin Seungchan (KOR) beat Zhang Wen / Ou Dongni (CHN)  15-21, 21-17, 21-7
MS: Son Wan Ho (KOR) beat Gao Huan (CHN)   21-13, 21-8
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Ko Sung Hyun (KOR) beat Wang Yilu Zhang Wen (CHN)  21-19, 21-8
WS: Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) vs. Hui Xirui (CHN) [not played]
WD: Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) vs.Ou Dongni / Yu Xiaohan (CHN)  [not played]

Complete results were available at http://www.gwangju2015.com/IRS/eng/bd/engbd_badminton_results_mixed_team_x400_1_01.htm

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