Lu in, Yoos & Kims out as China and Korea finalize Sudirman squads

China may have seen to correcting their nominations to include world #2 Lu Kai for the Sudirman Cup but Team Korea is minus 3 current and former top 5 players […]

China may have seen to correcting their nominations to include world #2 Lu Kai for the but Korea is minus 3 current and former top 5 players as the final rosters were published 12 days before the tournament begins.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

When most of the team rosters first appeared last week for the upcoming Sudirman Cup competition, it was clear that Korea and China still had some work to do.  Not only were both contingents in excess of the 20-player cap, but China had an inactive singles player entered in place of their  doubles star with a similar name (see more here).  China made sure to switch Lu Kai in for Liu Kai before the Friday night deadline but there were few other surprises from that quarter.

The interesting changes came with the Korean squad, which is at close to full strength for singles but is without many of its most experienced doubles specialists.  Former world #1 Yoo Yeon Seong will not be making the trip to Gold Coast, nor will Kim Gi Jung and Shing Seung Chan, both former world #2 shuttlers in level doubles, who are also currently Korea’s second highest ranked mixed pair and have beaten the top Thai and English pairs in the period since Rio.  Also absent are Asian Championship runners-up Yoo Hae Won and Kim Hye Rin, as well as Korea Masters winner Kim Jae Hwan, who teamed up with Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured above) to beat the top Japanese pair in India earlier this spring.

The Korean team was already seriously weakened by the retirements of star players Lee Yong Dae, Shin Baek Cheol, Ko Sung Hyun, Bae Yeon Ju, and Kim Sa Rang but unlike in 1993 and 2005, when players were called back from post-Olympic retirement to aid in Sudirman title defenses, this time it will be up to the young men to prove their worth.  Kim Duk Young is the only male doubles player over age 22 and three players – Kim Won Ho, Park Kyung Hoon, and Seo Seung Jae – are all still in their teens.

Post-Sudirman implications

The Chinese team features Bao Yixin but not her regular partner Yu Xiaohan.  However, this is consistent with the plan for the next event, as Bao and Tang Jinhua – who has been named for the Sudirman Cup – were reunited on the Indonesia Open entry lists that were released last week.

Korea’s case is more complicated.  Shin Seung Chan has indeed been entered for Indonesia with Jung Kyung Eun as expected, and Yoo Hae Won and Kim Hye Rin will be given the chance to follow up their brilliant performance in Wuhan at that time.  However, neither Kim Gi Jung (pictured above, with Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong) nor Yoo Yeon Seong are slated to appear in Jakarta, extending the break for the two veterans, who did not play in the Badminton Asia Championships and who were not picked for the Korea-Japan bi-nation team challenge on the weekend.  Yoo, of course, was originally reported to have retired after Rio, along with his three compatriots, but so far he and Kim are still on the list for the Korean national team.

The Korean team may be a long-shot to take back the title it last won 14 years ago but if it could pull of such a miracle, it would mark the first time two generations of one family participated in a Sudirman Cup victory.  17-year-old Kim Won Ho is the son of former World and Olympic Champion Gil Young Ah, who contributed two points to Korea’s win in the 1993 final.

Click here to see the complete Sudirman Cup rosters for all participating teams

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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