KOREA GPG 2012 Finals – This gold has Lee’s name on it, too

Lee Yong Dae gave the crowd in his hometown just what they wanted as he and Ko Sung Hyun took the men’s doubles title at the 2012 Victor Korea Gold in Lee Yong Dae Gymnasium in Hwasun.

Story and photos:  Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Hwasun

Defending champion Ko Sung Hyun, who had denied Lee Yong Dae the title in last year’s final, teamed up with Lee this year to seal the men’s doubles title in the hall that bears Lee’s name.

The challengers, first time finalists and top seeds Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang, just couldn’t get it together and the French Open champions took their second title in the last six weeks, winning 21-12, 21-11.

“I think Ki Jung and Sa Rang made more mistakes than usual today because they had a break in their training routine right before the tournament,” said Ko Sung Hyun after the final.  “In particular, Ki Jung was busy with work for university.”

For Lee Yong Dae, this was more than just another tournament and with his name already on the hall itself losing the final wasn’t really an option.

“I did feel a lot of pressure as this hall is named after me,” said Lee Yong Dae, “and this is the first time I’ve played in it and the first event that’s been played here.

“I felt a lot of pressure to win the title because it would seem weird for the hall to be named after me and then someone else win.  Fortunately, we did take the title, though.

“So far, I haven’t decided whether I want to play mixed again.  I’m not sure whether I can maintain my fitness if I do.  For now, playing with Ko Sung Hyun is enough.”

Asked whether he were envious of his partner having a facility named after him, Ko replied, “I am envious that Yong Dae was able to play well enough to win an Olympic gold but beyond just naming a gymnasium after him, his hometown supports him in so many ways, like coming out to events like this and cheering.

“If I could win gold and Wonju were to name one after me, that would make me so grateful.”

With their duties at home completed for the year, both pairs are back on the road tomorrow.  The two Kims will make their way down to Shenzhen for the Superseries Finals while Ko and Lee head to India with a Korean contingent that will take part in both the International Challenge and the Gold events there.

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