Seo Seung Jae cut from national team

The Badminton Korea Association (BKA) went ahead and cut doubles star Seo Seung Jae from the national team until the end of 2020, which could effectively end the Olympic dream […]

The (BKA) went ahead and cut doubles star from the team until the end of 2020, which could effectively end the Olympic dream for partner Chae Yoo Jung for another 4 years.

The BKA Performance Development Committee met today to rule on the case of Seo Seung Jae, who came under fire for signing a contract with one professional badminton team two days after making a provisional contract with the pro team coached by national team Head Coach Ahn Jae Chang.  The decision, reported this evening by Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, will suspend Seo’s national team membership effective tomorrow and lasting until December 31st, 2020.

Naturally, this is a major blow to the 22-year-old Seo, as well as to his partners Chae Yoo Jung and Choi Sol Gyu.  Chae, 24, was also exactly 1 ranking place short of qualifying for the Rio in 2016.  She and Shin Baek Cheol were #9 at the end of the Rio qualifying period but to be the second Korean mixed doubles pair, they needed to be in the top 8.  As a result, the #18 pair were invited instead.  Choi Sol Gyu still has a slim chance of moving into contention for the Tokyo in mixed doubles with partner Shin Seung Chan but they are currently a whopping 16,000 points short of the competitor they would need to pass.

Yonhap published quotes from various members of the committee, one of whom explained that the debate over what action to take lasted over four hours and that a major issue was the impact on Seo’s two partners.  One member suggested that this decision may be followed by an appeal process.

Unlike the recent case of Malaysian players leaving the national team and going independent, it is unknown whether Seo, after suffering a punitive suspension, would be allowed to enter tournaments – particularly the Olympics – as an independent.  The BKA has only in the last two years begun entering as independents veteran players who had already left the national team. Currently, the youngest of these is 28 but this was after a long struggle to overturn a BKA rule that stipulated a minimum age for independents.

It is almost certain that come May, the BKA will be asked to accept or decline an invitation for Seo and Chae – who have racked up a secure pile of points.  Rejecting this invitation could then lead to a choice between independents Ko Sung Hyun / Eom Hye Won or letting the Olympic spot pass to a European pair.  One report this evening in the Korean media says that the BKA intends to rule on that question later, if Seo and his partners have not dropped out of Tokyo qualifying range.

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 @