An Se Young named to Korean national team at 15

15-year-old An Se Young became one of the youngest players ever named to the Korean national badminton team after an unbeaten run at the team try-outs this week. Photos: Badmintonphoto […]

15-year-old An Se Young became one of the youngest players ever named to the Korean badminton team after an unbeaten run at the team try-outs this week.

Photos: Badmintonphoto

An Se Young (pictured) of Gwangju, the 15-year-old who produced the upset that gave Korea the Asian Junior Mixed Team Championship title, beat Korea Masters runner-up Lee Jang Mi and six other shuttlers in an unbeaten run at the Korean national team try-outs that left the coaches with no choice but to name her to the team for 2018.  While the number of teenagers decreased from 11 last year to 8 for 2018, the team is overall much younger, with only 10 of the 40 players over the age of 25.  The only other players selected who are still eligible for junior events in 2018 are reigning World Junior Champions Lee Yu Rim and Baek Ha Na.

Korea’s News1 agency reported this week that An Se Young is the first middle school student ever to qualify for Korea’s national badminton team through performance in try-outs, pointing out that even Lee Yong Dae was selected based on coaches’ recommendation.  However, An will be moving to high school in March, shortly after turning 16.  Whether or not she ends up representing Korea in a senior event while still technically a middle school student, she will certainly not be the youngest Korean to do so.  In 2003, both Lee Yong Dae and Jang Soo Young played in the Canada Open at age 14, and Lee Kyung Won and Ra Kyung Min did the same, at the 1994 and 1991 Denmark Opens respectively.

All of Korea’s top players went through the national team selection process, with the exception of singles players ranked in the world’s top 16 and top 8 doubles players.  As the try-out list was decided before  the Korea Masters, Seo Seung Jae and Kim Ha Na – who moved up to #8 in the world after winning in Gwangju – were put through the paces with their team-mates and the only ones exempt just happened to be those Koreans who were on court in Dubai the week before (pictured right).

A few well-known veterans tried out but were not selected.  These included 2013 Korea Gold runners-up Choi Hye In and Kang Ji Wook.  Not even Korea Masters runner-up Kim Min Ki was able to confirm his spot for the coming year, although his doubles counterpart Jung Jae Wook will get the chance to prove himself internationally in 2018.

There were also some notables among those who didn’t try out, though many of these were no surprise.  Jung’s partner in winning Gwangju silver, Kim Gi Jung, was not involved in the try-outs, nor were any of the other six  men’s doubles stars who have ‘retired’ since Rio.  Former World Championship runner-up Eom Hye Won had tried out unsuccessfully on the last two occasions but did not participate this year.  This year’s Asian Championship runner-up Yoo Hae Won did not try out either, nor did her former partner Go Ah Ra, who was also unsuccessful last December.  Apart from Yoo, the four other current national team members who will not remain on the team for the new year all tried out again.

While Jung Jae Wook is new to the doubles squad, he was previously named to the national team, back in 2013, as a singles player, in which category he played only one tournament.  The other six players are on the national team for the first time in their careers.  In joining the team, Kim Hye Jeong brings to three the number of members whose parents have All England titles.  Her mother Chung So Young won the All England in 1988 with Sung Ji Hyun’s mother and in 1993 and 1994 with Kim Won Ho’s mother.

The 2018 Korean national team roster is shown below, together with the selection method.  New members are shown in bold and those who qualified without participating in the try-outs are shown in italics.

Singles
Men Women
Son Wan Ho World #5 Sung Ji Hyun World #6
Jeon Hyeok Jin Group A #1 Jeon Joo I Group A #1
Lee Dong Keun Group B #1 An Se Young Group B #1
Kim Dong Hoon Group A #2 Kim Hyo Min Group A #2
Heo Kwang Hee Group B #2 Lee Jang Mi Group B #2
Ha Young Woong Overall #5 Lee Min Ji Overall #5
Lee Yoon Kyu Coaches’ pick Kim Ga Eun Coaches’ pick (Overall #6)
Son Seong Hyun Coaches’ pick Sim Yu Jin Coaches’ pick (Group B #6)
       
Doubles
Men Women
Chung Eui Seok Assessment #1 Chang Ye Na World #5
Choi Sol Gyu Assessment #2 Jung Kyung Eun World #8
Seo Seung Jae Assessment #3 Lee So Hee World #5
Kim Duk Young Assessment #4 Shin Seung Chan World #8
Kim Won Ho Assessment #5 Baek Ha Na Assessment #1
Jung Jae Wook Assessment #6 Kim Ha Na Assessment #2
Kim Jae Hwan Assessment #7 Lee Yu Rim Assessment #3
Kang Min Hyuk Assessment #8 Kim So Yeong Assessment #4
Park Kyung Hoon Assessment #9 Kong Hee Yong Assessment #5
Choi Hyuk Gyun Assessment #10 Kim Hye Rin Assessment #6
Kim Hui Tae Assessment #11 Kim Hye Jeong Assessment #7
Jung Tae In Assessment #12 Chae Yoo Jung Assessment #8
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