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Korean Badminton

Posted January. 30, 2005 22:57,   


“Shall we pair them up for good?”

The “youngbloods,” Lee Hyo-jung (Samsung Electro-mechanics) and Lee Jae-jin (Wonkwang University) won the mixed doubles title in the 2005 Daekyo Noonnoppi Korea Open, rising as world-best Korean mixed doubles’ new hopefuls.

At the mixed doubles final held on January 20 in Incheon’s Dowon Indoor Stadium, the Lee - Lee team beat the Eriksen - Schjoldager (Denmark) team 2-0 (17-14, 15-9). The Eriksen - Schjoldager team is the second-ranking team in the world and the bronze-medallists in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Jae-jin won a title as partners in their second try, with their first being the Malaysia Open held last December when they made it to the quarterfinals.

The two players were not originally supposed to be mixed doubles partners. Lee Jae-jin’s original partner was Hwang Yoo-mi (Daekyo), who is currently recovering from injury. Lee Hyo-jung had been a long-time partner to Kim Yong-hyun (Dangjin County Office), and after his retirement last year she was expected to make a team with Athens Olympic gold-medallist Kim Dong-moon (Samsung Electro-mechanics). However, when Kim Dong-moon’s entrance to the national team was delayed after he came back from the Athens Olympic Games, Lee Hyo-jung was temporarily placed with Lee Jae-jin, and this combination showed better results than expected.

Jun Jae-yeon (Daekyo, world ranking: ninth) defeated Hong Kong’s Wang Chen (world ranking: eighth) 2-0 (11-7, 11-8). This was her first title since she won the Asian Championship title last year. Korea had not won a women’s singles title in the Korea Open for nine years since Bang Soo-hyun won in 1996.

In the women’s doubles, the Lee Kyung-won - Lee Hyo-jung (Samsung Electro-mechanics) team presented Korea with its third gold medal when England’s Emms - Kellogg team withdrew from the match due to injuries.

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com