Korea and Japan add a few young faces for 2020 national teams

Korea and Japan named their national teams for 2020 this past week, with minimal turnover, but a few veterans were replaced with fresh faces. Korea and Japan both unveiled their […]

Korea and Japan named their national teams for 2020 this past week, with minimal turnover, but a few veterans were replaced with fresh faces.

Korea and Japan both unveiled their new national team rosters for 2020 in the past week.  Korea’s came at the end of a national team tryout event, while Japan’s is as always based on the results of the All Nippon Championships.  Both teams are now without some key veterans but have welcomed some new talent.  The highest-profile of them would have to be Thailand Open winners Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto, but Korea also had to let go of one of its 2016 Olympians, Lee Dong Keun.

Korea ran it’s national team tryouts from December 18th to 23rd in Jecheon City.  A total of 12 players were exempted from the process for being tentatively qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.  The singles selections were made using a straightforward round-robin tournament.  With only 5 spots up for grabs, it was very competitive for the ladies and former Macau Open runner-up Kim Hyo Min was unable to make the cut.  3rd in a 3-way tie for the lead in her group, she lost her playoff against the other group’s 3rd shuttler, Lee Se Yeon.

It will instead be the first time on the national team for Kim Joo Eun.  The 22-year-old has only played one international senior match in her career.  Her only loss in the tryouts was to Kim Hyo Min, who struggled this year but who, at #39 in the world, is still ranked higher than the five shuttlers who were chosen ahead of her.

In the men’s singles trials, 2018 U.S. Open winner Lee Dong Keun pulled out at the last minute and two younger players ended up being selected to replace the 29-year-old.  Woo Seung Hoon (pictured right) and Kim Joo Wan will thus get their first chance as part of the Korean national squad.

Overall, the Korean team make-up changed from a 20-20 split to 22 men and 18 women.  The women’s doubles squad stayed the same as last year, minus 2 of its 3 youngest players.  Meanwhile, the men’s team dropped veteran Chung Eui Seok and youngster Choi Hyuk Gyun, who played a combined 4 international tournaments last year.

In place of these two are four first-time national team members.  The youngest of them is Ki Dong Ju (pictured top), a German Junior winner last year, who reached the quarter-finals at the Asian Juniors this year with Kim Joon Young, who was also selected.  Shin Tae Yang and Choi Hyun Beom were the other two new editions.

The complete 2020 Korean national team roster is shown below.  Players who were exempt from the tryout process are shown in italics, while new national team members are shown in bold green.

Men Women
Son Wan Ho World #54 Sung Ji Hyun World #12
Heo Kwang Hee World #41 Kim Ga Eun World #18
Kim Dong Hoon Group A #1 An Se Young World #9
Kim Joo Wan Group A #2 Kim Joo Eun Group A #1
Moon Joon Seop Group A #3 Jeon Joo I Group A #2
Ha Young Woong Group B #1 Sim Yu Jin Group B #2
Cho Geon Yeop Group B #2 Kim Na Yeong Group B #2
Woo Seung Hoon Group B #3 Lee Se Yeon Overall #5
Men Women
Seo Seung Jae World #7 Lee So Hee World #6
Choi Sol Gyu World #9 Shin Seung Chan World #6
Na Sung Seung Assessment #1 Kim So Yeong World #5
Kang Min Hyuk Assessment #2 Kong Hee Yong World #5
Kim Jae Hwan Assessment #3 Chae Yoo Jung World #7
Wang Chan Assessment #4 Chang Ye Na Assessment #1
Park Kyung Hoon Assessment #5 Kim Hye Rin Assessment #2
Kim Won Ho Assessment #6 Baek Ha Na Assessment #3
Ki Dong Ju Assessment #7 Jung Kyung Eun Assessment #4
Lim Su Min Assessment #8 Kim Hye Jeong Assessment #5
Kim Dong Ju Assessment #9    
Kim Joon Young Assessment #10    
Shin Tae Yang Assessment #11    
Choi Hyun Beom Assessment #12    

Team Japan underwent less change, at least in terms of the A team.  The major differences involve veterans who have left the national team.  Foremost among them are Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto.  The former world #4 have not competed internationally since they won the Thailand Open in early August and they did not contest the All Nippon Championships earlier this month.  They have been replaced on the national A team by Korea Masters winners Chiharu Shida / Nami Matsuyama (pictured left, with Matsutomo/Takahashi).

Also leaving both the national A and B teams were Takuto Inoue / Yuki Kaneko.  The world #24 were beaten in the All Nippon quarter-finals by Akira Koga / Taichi Saito.  The world #32 have taken Inoue/Kaneko’s place as the 4th pair on the A team.  The final A team change saw Koki Watanabe taking over the spot left available by the departure of Kazumasa Sakai, but both members of Japan’s only dedicated mixed partnership from this year – Kohei Gondo Ayane Kurihara – have also both moved on.

Men Women
Kento Momota Akane Yamaguchi
Kenta Nishimoto Nozomi Okuhara
Kanta Tsuneyama Sayaka Takahashi
Koki Watanabe Aya Ohori
Keigo Sonoda / Takeshi Kamura Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota
Hiroyuki Endo / Yuta Watanabe Ayaka Takahashi / Misaki Matsutomo
Takuro Hoki / Yugo Kobayashi Wakana Nagahara / Mayu Matsumoto
Akira Koga / Taichi Saito Chiharu Shida / Nami Matsuyama
  Arisa Higashino

Click here for the gallery of head shots

Listed below are Japan’s national B team players:

Men Women
Yu Igarashi Asuka Takahashi
Kodai Naraoka Hirari Mizui
Minoru Koga Moto Hayashi
Takuma Obayashi Natsuki Oie
Hashiru Shimono Natsuki Nidaira
Yushi Tanaka Riko Gunji
Hiroki Okamura / Masayuki Onodera Ayako Sakuramoto / Yukiko Takahata
Mahiro Kaneko / Yunosuke Kubota Chisato Hoshi / Aoi Matsuda
Masato Takano / Katsuki Tamate Mizuki Otake / Miyu Takahashi
Mixed doubles
Kyohei Yamashita / Naru Shinoya
Hiroki Midorikawa / Natsu Saito
Tadayuki Urai / Rena Miyaura
Yujiro Nishikawa / Saori Ozaki


Click here for the gallery of head shots

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