Korean men’s doubles stars Kim Ki Jung and Yoo Yeon Seong are officially off the Korean national badminton team as of today. This marks the end of a generation for Korea in the discipline.
Today the names of former world #1 Yoo Yeon Seong and #2 Kim Ki Jung were removed from the roster of the Korean national badminton team. Such a development is tantamount to retirement from international badminton ranking tournaments. Yoo and Kim are the last of six Koreans who took up all but two podium spots at the 2014 BWF World Championships and have accounted for a combined 114 titles in men’s and mixed doubles, dating back to the 2006 German Open.
Immediately following the Rio Olympics, Kim Sa Rang and Lee Yong Dae were the first to announce their departure from international badminton. Yoo Yeon Seong was reported at the same time but he later revealed that he would be staying with the national team to focus on mixed doubles. Lee Yong Dae made an exception for the Korea Open in September, which he and Yoo won, but that was Lee’s last appearance in an international ranking event.
Shin Baek Cheol, who had left the national team late last spring, finally made his retirement official in October last year and that left Yoo with Kim Ki Jung and Ko Sung Hyun as the elder statesmen on the Korean national squad. Ko Sung Hyun announced his retirement from the international game in January of this year but this has not been made official with the Badminton World Federation and his name still appears on the world rankings but he has made no international appearances since the Superseries Finals in Dubai last year.
The Badminton Korea Association did not respond to queries from Badzine but the removal of Kim and Yoo from the national team roster merely confirms the two veterans’ departure, which was expected after they were named neither for the Sudirman Cup team nor for the next two Superseries events.
Yoo Yeon Seong won his first Grand Prix title in 2006 when he and Jeon Jun Beom won the Vietnam Open and he spent over two years as world #1 in men’s doubles, together with partner Lee Yong Dae. He will continue to play in domestic events as a member of the Suwon City Hall badminton team.
Kim Ki Jung reached a career high world ranking of #2 and his first major international title was the Badminton Asia Championships in 2012. He and playing coach Jung Jae Sung are the aces of the once-mighty Samsung Electromechanics badminton team, which lost Kim Sa Rang and Lee Yong Dae at the beginning of the year.