New Korean pairs put to pre-Denmark test

Korea’s biggest domestic event featured winning retirees, training national team members and next week’s World Junior Championship hopefuls. Story and photos by Don Hearn The Superseries resumes next week with […]

Korea’s biggest domestic event featured winning retirees, training team members and next week’s World Championship hopefuls.

Story and photos by Don Hearn

The Superseries resumes next week with the Denmark Open and the World Junior Championships kicked off today in Yogyakarta but most of Korea’s best players are concentrating this week in the central city of Chungju, looking to take gold for their city and provincial teams at the National Sports Festival.

Universiade champions Kim Jae Hwan and Seo Seung Jae (pictured above) took the men’s doubles title in the university division without dropping a game.  With Seo’s partner Kim Won Ho heading to the individual event of the World Juniors next week (for more on that see here) and Kim’s national team partner Choi Sol Gyu injured, the two Wonkwang University team-mates will be competing together at the French Open.

Kim Won Ho also titled in Chungju.  He and Kang Min Hyuk (pictured below) will be playing together next week in Yogyakarta but they took the high school boys’ doubles title and will lead a very strong Gyeonggi team in the boys’ team competition, starting tomorrow.

Jung Kyung Eun and Chang Ye Na (pictured above), will be competing as a pair internationally next week in Denmark for the first time since the World Championships in 2015.  They came close to winning the women’s doubles title in the pro division but lost out in the final to Kim So Yeong and Lee So Hee (pictured).  Lee, who has spent two year’s as Chang’s regular partner, will be playing with Shin Seung Chan in Europe and with Kim Hye Rin at the China Open next month.

Unofficially retired former world #2 Kim Gi Jung took his second national title of the year with Jung Jae Wook (pictured above).  Former world #1 Lee Yong Dae had no luck, as he and Kim Dae Eun lost in the second round to unheralded Lim Jong Geun and Kim Dong Ju (pictured).

Korea’s currently top-ranked men’s doubles pair was unable to win the title but Chung Eui Seok and Kim Duk Young (pictured above) were able to oust former World Champions Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol (pictured below) in the semi-finals.

The new Asian Junior Champions did not fare so well apart.  Baek Ha Na and her partner Song Hyun Ju (pictured above) were beaten in the second round by the eventual champions in the high school division.  Baek’s partner in international events, Lee Yu Rim, also lost out in the second round.  She and Jang Hyun Ji (pictured below) lost to the Seong twins.

The winners of the high school event this week were Shim Yu Jin / Lee Ye Na (pictured above). They had a shot at the former Asian Junior Champions Du Yue / Xu Ya during last month’s Korea Open but neither will be playing at the World Juniors next week.  They were the only shuttlers from host Chungbuk Province to win a title at the NSF so far, however.

Kim Sa Rang is another retired star who lost to the eventual champions.  It was his former world #2 partner who beat him and Kim Sung Hun (pictured below).

Double finalist at the Asian Juniors, Na Sung Seung (pictured above) reached the final again in boys’ doubles at the NSF.  In Yogyakarta next week, though, he will only be playing mixed doubles, with Seong Ah Yeong.

Like the Luo twins from China, Seong Ah Yeong and Seong Na Yeong (pictured below) have been split during their last year as juniors.  Perhaps this separation too will only be temporary. 

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 @