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Deafness No Obstacle for Badminton Duo

Posted January. 16, 2006 03:00,   


Eighteen-year-old badminton players Shin Geyong-deok (left) and Gang Myeong-jung (right) got good news recently: they were both accepted to Donyang University’s sport science department.

They also happen to be deaf.

The two were about to give up playing badminton after graduation due to their disabilities, but Korean Badminton Association spokesperson Seo Myong-won recommended them to Dongyang University, which in turn promised to create its first-ever varsity badminton team comprised of players with disabilities. The two teens were the first to be accepted.

These two talented athletes have played badminton for their school since sixth grade. Shin won the gold in men’s singles at last year’s Korea Games for the Deaf, and Gang took second place.

Although they are at a disadvantage because they have to be coached using sign language, the two have no complaints about practicing four hours everyday after class.

Shin and Gang were happy to receive their acceptance letters, but the good news also came with a burden.

Their coach Yi Bo-sang remarked, “These two have always attended a school for the deaf. This will be the first time they have ever left home for a place where it will be hard for them to communicate. They are worried.”

But the two young athletes fought off their fears with the thought that they have to pave the way for other disabled athletes, according to Yi.

Shin and Gang spent six years playing badminton together at the Seoul National School for the Deaf. Their next goal is winning a medal at the 2009 Taipei Deaf Olympics.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com