Korean national badminton team gets 8 new players, 3 new coaches

Korea completed tryouts for its 2019 national badminton team on the weekend but the results, published Monday by the Badminton Korea Association (BKA), featured mostly new blood in terms of […]

Korea completed tryouts for its 2019 national badminton team on the weekend but the results, published Monday by the (BKA), featured mostly new blood in terms of players, while 2 coaches make their return to the national team staff.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

A month ago, Korea had a full national team but no coaches.  Now, the BKA has published the full roster of players for 2019, along with 3 additions to the coaching staff, but at least two coaching positions have yet to be announced.  The BKA had a lot of bad press in October and November, much of it surrounding the firing of their entire coaching staff in the wake of the Asian Games.  On the last day of November, they named Ahn Jae Chang their new Head Coach and the rebuilding has gone on from there, with a big focus on the national team tryouts that ran from the 18th to the 23rd of December.

Unlike the high-profile voluntary departures from national teams that have made the news in Korea in recent years, and other countries like Malaysia and Denmark more recently, this December’s process was a lot more straightforward.  In fact, the women’s team had no surprises in the end, with one of the oddest developments coming before the tryouts, when it became clear that veterans Chang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun (pictured top, alongside Shin Seung Chan / Lee So Hee) would have to prove themselves in tryouts, after years of their world ranking entitling them to a little vacation time.

The only departure of an incumbent was by former Canada Open champion Choi Hye In, who came in midway through the year after Kim Ha Na left.  Choi, who was not once sent overseas, was replaced by 18-year-old Asian Championship runner-up Jeong Na Eun (pictured above, with partner Wang Chan).

Jeong was one of ten teenagers named to the 40-member squad.  The youngest is again 16-year-old (pictured left).  For the second straight year, An beat all comers in the women’s singles round robin tryouts, recording a cool 9-0 record against players ranging from 2 to 7 years her senior.

The men’s team had far more changes, although most players who lost their spots had only made it overseas a handful of times in 2018.  The highest-profile player dropped from the squad was Kim Duk Young.  He and Chung Eui Seok may have finished the year ranked #39 in the world but it was a disappointing year, with 11 first-round exits in 13 tournaments.

The men’s doubles squad is clearly going for young talent, and two recent World Junior Championship runners-up – Lim Su Min (2016) and Wang Chan (2018) – will be joined by 2017 Asian Junior runner-up Na Sung Seung.  Na and Lim spent the past year training with Korea’s reserve national team but did not compete at all outside of Korea.

The men’s singles squad lost three players, including former Gwangju Masters champion Jeon Hyeok Jin, who did not participate in the tryouts and who was out injured since a domestic competition in March.  17-year-old Choi Ji Hoon (pictured right) is one of the reinforcements and is the only national team player other than An Se Young who will also be eligible for junior events in 2019.

The entire 2019 team is shown below, with the new additions shown in italics.

Singles

Men

Women

Son Wan Ho Sung Ji Hyun
Lee Dong Keun Lee Se Yeon
Ha Young Woong Sim Yu Jin
Heo Kwang Hee Kim Ga Eun
Kim Dong Hoon An Se Young
Choi Ji Hoon Kim Na Young
Jo Gun Yeop Kim Hyo Min
Moon Jun Seop Jeon Ju I

Doubles

Men

Women

Seo Seung Jae Lee So Hee
Choi Sol Gyu Shin Seung Chan
Kim Won Ho Chang Ye Na
Kim Jae Hwan Jung Kyung Eun
Kang Min Hyuk Kong Hee Yong
Park Kyung Hoon Kim So Yeong
Chung Eui Seok Chae Yoo Jung
Choi Hyuk Gyun Baek Ha Na
Lim Su Min Kim Hye Rin
Na Seung Sung Kim Hye Jeong
Wang Chan Kim Min Ji
Kim Dong Joo Jeong Na Eun

 

The coaching staff is still in the midst of an overhaul.  The BKA has advertised for new coaches three times in the past two months, the most recent one going up on Monday and soliciting applications for one singles coach.

So far, joining Head Coach Ahn Jae Chang are former top 5 players Lee Kyung Won and Kim Yong Hyun (pictured right).  Both have done short stints on the national team in recent years and Lee spent 2018 at the helm of the new national team reserve squad.  Along with them is Kim Sang Soo, who is actually the only one who survived the post-Jakarta reaping this autumn.

The new blood comes in the form of Jang Young Soo (pictured bottom).  Long a coach of the Gimcheon City Hall domestic team, Jang is making his debut with the national coaching staff.  He was busy earlier this month when two of his pairs – Chang/Jung and Ko/Eom – won titles at the Gwangju Masters Super 300 event.  At an international event held locally, with no national team coaches then on the payroll, Jang was busy all week, as was Kim Yong Hyun, who coached his Wonkwang University charge Seo Seung Jae to the men’s doubles title.

The BKA notice says that both a singles coach and a foreign coach will be named before intensive winter training begins in January.

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