Korea announces 2015 National Team

Korean coaches presented their list of 41 players who make up their 2015 National Badminton Team after spending two weeks in December on selection events. Story and photos by Don […]

Korean coaches presented their list of 41 players who make up their 2015 National Badminton Team after spending two weeks in December on selection events.

Story and photos by Don Hearn

Only days after Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong returned from Dubai with the biggest paycheck from 2014, They had to get right back on court as two of fifty players vying for just 21 spots on the national doubles squad for 2015.

The singles squad had been chosen earlier in December through a 15-person round robin that included plenty of national team hopefuls but it was held while the top three singles shuttlers were in Dubai for the Superseries Finals.

The youngest woman selected for 2015 was this year’s Asian Junior Championship runner-up Kong Hee Yong.  She is pictured above with Kim Ha Na in a training match that is being observed by, among others, two former World Champions.

2015 Korean National Badminton Team

Men’s singles: Son Wan Ho, Lee Dong Keun, Ha Young Woong, Kim Dong Hoon, Lee Hong Je, Jeon Hyeok Jin, Heo Kwang Hee, Seo Seung Jae
Women’s singles: Bae Yeon Ju, Sung Ji Hyun, Koh Eun Byeol, Lee Jang Mi, Kim Ye Ji, Han So Yeon, Kim Na Young, Kim Hyo Min
Men’s doubles: Yoo Yeon Seong, Ko Sung Hyun, Lee Yong Dae, Kim Sa Rang, Shin Baek Cheol, Chung Eui Seok, Kim Ki Jung, Kim Dae Eun, Kim Duck Young, Jun Bong Chan, Choi Sol Kyu, Kim Jae Hwan
Women’s doubles: Jang Ye Na, Kim Ha Na, Jung Kyung Eun, Eom Hye Won, Kim So Young, Go Ah Ra, Yoo Hae Won, Lee So Hee, Shin Seung Chan, Kim Ji Won, Chae Yoo Jung, Kim Hye Rin, Kong Hee Yong

The only player selected this time around who is eligible for junior (under-19) events in 2015 is Seo Seung Jae (pictured below), winner of the Malaysian and Korean Junior Internationals this past autumn.  There were only a few changes in the women’s singles squad, including Kim Ye Ji (pictured below, at right) replacing her Korea Ginseng Company team-mate Lee Min Ji.

The doubles selection event was held at the regular training centre of the Samsung Electromechanics Badminton Team, which employs such stars as Lee Yong Dae, Kim Ha Na, Shin Seung Chan, and Kim Ki Jung.  All of the national team coaches were present, with the show being run by Head Coach Lee Deuk Choon (pictured below, at left).

Some of the time, the players were paired up with their regular partners, as with Go Ah Ra / Yoo Hae Won (pictured above).  In other cases, veterans like Lee Yong Dae were on court challenging youngsters like Lee Jun Su (pictured below) to keep up.

Players arrived sometimes with coaches and trainers from their schools or pro teams.  They are all friendly off court but warm-up partners are usually the ones who are always team-mates, both at international and national tournaments.

At the end of a long season, some players were nursing injuries, all were looking for spots on the prestigious national squad, and some, like Kim Ji Won (pictured below with Eom Hye Won), will soon be having to get ready for the first two tournaments in 2015, just a week after the end of the selection process.

Inevitably, some finished the year with some disappointment.  Despite winning her first Grand Prix title last year, Choi Hye In (pictured above with her partner in that Canada Open victory Lee So Hee) was not chosen to remain on the national team.  Nor was the partner with whom she was World Junior Championship runner-up in 2010, Kang Ji Wook.  Kang is, however, one of six players who were entered in the upcoming Thailand International and Malaysia Grand Prix Gold despite having since been dropped from the national team.

She may have youth, talent, a mid-rally smile like Tai Tzu Ying’s, and a name like the president, but World Junior Championship mixed doubles semi-finalist Park Keun Hye (pictured below) will have to spend another year on the junior team before she can aim for the big leagues.  She and high school team-mate Kim Hye Jeong will be with the Korean contingent headed for the Thai Junior International in mid-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