Not 1, but 3 former Korea coaches to join Chinese staff

Two Koreans are to become the first foreign coaches ever to join the Chinese national badminton team but hopes may be highest for Chinese coach Li Mao, who is rejoining […]

Two Koreans are to become the first foreign coaches ever to join the Chinese national badminton team but hopes may be highest for Chinese Li Mao, who is rejoining the team after two decades of coaching in Korea, Malaysia, and elsewhere.

Following reports in the Korean media that the Chinese Badminton Association (CBA) was hiring former Korean team Head Coach Kang Kyung Jin, the CBA announced Thursday that their staff would also see the addition of two-time Olympic silver medallist Yoo Yong Sung, as well as Chinese singles coach Li Mao, who did two stints in Korea earlier in the millennium.  Xinhua News reported in English on Thursday that it was hoped that both Kang and Yoo would bring the Korean “philosophy and training method” and adapt them to China’s doubles players.

Kang Kyung Jin (pictured top) has been between posts since he and 6 colleagues were dismissed from duties at the Korean national team last November.  Kim Sang Soo was rehired by the Badminton Korea Association (BKA) for 2019, while Agus Dwi Santoso was soon hired by Thailand and Park Tae Sang and Kim Ji Hyun went to India earlier this year.  Ra Kyung Min and Choi Min Ho are still yet to begin the next chapter in their respective coaching careers.  Kang and his team made a big impact early in his tenure when they presided over Korea’s miracle win at the 2017 Sudirman Cup.

Yoo Yong Sung (pictured right), a two-time Asian Games gold medallist, had a brief spell as a trainer for Korea’s national team following his retirement after the Sydney Olympics.  Since then, he has had coaching positions in Malaysia, Singapore and most recently in the United States, where he worked with Pan Am Games gold medallists Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana.

Li Mao (pictured below) is to return to the fold after 21 years, according to Xinhua.  Early this millennium, Li began coaching in Korea, where he served two stretches, with an interval in between in Malaysia, which corresponded to Lee Chong Wei’s first ascension to the world #1 position, two years after a comparable but brief peak by his previous charge, Lee Hyun Il.

The Xinhua article also mentions China’s single gold performance at the World Championships in Basel, implying this was a factor in the Chinese decision to turn to foreign coaching talent.  In a way, the predicament for men’s singles could be among the most worrying.  It is rare that Chinese fortunes in the discipline hinge upon the health or form of one player but with Shi Yuqi sustaining a serious injury at the Indonesia Open in July, China ended up without a men’s singles finalist at the World Championships for the first time since 2001 and without a semi-finalist for the first time since 1995.

Photos: Badmintonphoto



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 @