Korean Olympians retire

Lee Yong Dae, Yoo Yeon Seong, Kim Sa Rang, and Bae Yeon Ju have all told Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that they are retiring from international play. Photos: Yves Lacroix […]

Lee Yong Dae, Yoo Yeon Seong, Kim Sa Rang, and Bae Yeon Ju have all told Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that they are retiring from international play.

Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

According to the Yonhap report, Lee Yong Dae intends to accept offers he’s had to play in professional leagues in Malaysia, India, China and Indonesia and that he will continue to play for the Samsung pro team thoughout the season.  Yoo Yeon Seong’s wife is expecting their first child this autumn and he can only live with his new family full-time once he leaves the national team and moves out of the national training centre in Seoul.  Both Bae Yeon Ju and Kim Sa Rang have been struggling with injuries over the past few years and Kim may end up having surgery on a disc in his neck after the National Sports Festival, in which he will participate with the Samsung team in October.

The oldest of the retiring players is Yoo, who turns 30 today.  Bae Yeon Ju is the youngest and she won’t turn 26 until October, but she joined the national team at age 16, shortly after reaching the World Championship semi-final in her first ever international appearance.  Lee Yong Dae retires having won 42 career titles, 2nd (along with Zhao Yunlei and Yu Yang) only to Lee Chong Wei’s 43.

Lee/Yoo and Bae are on the entry lists for the Korea Open in September and while it is common for players to withdraw later, Lee and Yoo have said that they intend to make the Korea Open their last international event.  Lee Yong Dae also told Yonhap that there is still the possibility that he will make a comeback in the future, as he still enjoys the game.  Indeed, basically every retired Korean player has continued playing in domestic events, often for several years after retiring from the national team.

 

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