World silver medallists back to mixed in May

Four Koreans, all past or present World Championship runners-up, will be back to playing mixed doubles at next month’s Australian Open, while six other former world #1s will be in […]

Four Koreans, all past or present World Championship runners-up, will be back to playing mixed doubles at next month’s Australian Open, while six other former world #1s will be in new doubles pairings in Sydney.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

The 2015 STAR Australian Badminton Open Superseries is the first major individual event in the qualifying period for the Rio Olympics and some of the top badminton teams are fielding some interesting new pairings.

Korea and China seem to be making the highest profile changes in May.  Men’s doubles world #1s Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong are both entered in the mixed doubles.  Yoo Yeon Seong is playing with former partner Jang Ye Na (pictured), with whom he last played last spring.  Lee Yong Dae will again be paired with Lee So Hee just as in the Hong Kong Open late last year.  That one occasion was the only mixed outing for either Lee since last summer.  None of the four have played mixed yet in 2015.

Jang Ye Na will actually be playing her first mixed doubles of the year next week with Shin Baek Cheol at the Badminton Asia Championships, which will be Shin’s first tournament – international or domestic – since Dubai in December.  However, in Australia, Shin will be paired with former World Junior Champion Chae Yoo Jung.  Chae’s longtime partner Choi Sol Kyu, meanwhile, will be accompanying 2013 World Championship runner-up Eom Hye Won in her 2015 Superseries debut.

China’s big changes come in the level doubles with two brand new pairings of former women’s doubles world #1s.  Sixth in the entry list with their notional ranking points is a first-time of Tian Qing and Tang Jinhua while almost forgotten are current and former World Champions Wang Xiaoli and Zhao Yunlei (pictured), inexplicably first on the reserve list.  If they can make it into qualifying or higher, this will be the first individual outing for Wang and Zhao, who recorded three wins at last year’s Uber Cup.

Zhao is not entered in the mixed doubles but her partner Zhang Nan is again to be active in men’s doubles with Fu Haifeng, one of three men’s doubles pairs currently ranked in the top ten who will continue their pairings.  Lower down on the list, Swiss Open champions Cai Yun and Lu Kai have done a partner swap such that they will be playing with Kang Jun and Liu Cheng respectively.

Finally, two formerly successful pairs will see reunions in Australia in May.  2006 Asian Games gold medallists Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong have been entered in men’s doubles for the first time since Tan joined Koo in leaving the fold of their national association.  The two men played only two tournaments together in 2014 as Koo took a position with the Granular Badminton Academy in Thailand.  Another is 2012 Japan Open women’s doubles champions Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet.  The Hong Kong pair have not played together since late 2013.

The singles fields are at full strength as the entire men’s doubles top 20 are entered, along with all but two of the top twenty in women’s singles.  The men’s field will also include former world #1 Lee Hyun Il, who is playing in only his second Superseries event since the London Olympics and is playing in Australia for the first time in 15 years.

Click here to download the complete entry lists from the Badminton World Federation website

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 @