“We lost again.”
As if the nightmare of the loss two years ago was coming back to haunt her, Ahn Se-young (Samsung Life) broke down in tears during a post-match interview with the Korean joint news agency. “I tried not to cry because I feel like I lose the same every time, but I’m a little disappointed, so yes… I can only say I’m disappointed… It’s unfortunate, so I’ll have to work harder, again.”
Even Ahn Se-young (Samsung Life), who had been counted on by the Korean team to regain the top spot at the World Mixed Team Badminton Championships after a six-year absence, had to settle for silver after being upset by China’s Chen Yuefei.
The final of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Sudirman Cup 2023 at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Center in Suzhou, China, on May 21. The South Korean badminton team, led by Kim Hak-gyun (52), was defeated by the world’s strongest team, China, with a match score of 0-3.
Held every two years, the Sudirman Cup is a mixed team event in which players compete in the order of mixed doubles, men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s doubles to determine the winner. It is a best-of-five series.
Korea’s first mixed doubles match of the day was a heartbreaker as world No. 5 Seo Seung-jae (Armed Forces Athletic Corps) and Chae Yu-jung (Incheon International Airport) fell 1-2 (21-18, 20-22, 8-21) to No. 1 Zheng Tse-wei and Huang Ya-chiong. It was disappointing to lose the second set match point.
In the men’s singles, the world’s 213th-ranked Lee Yoon-kyu (Cheoncheong, Kim) was pushed to the brink as he lost 0-2 (13-21, 17-21) to the 10th-ranked Switch.
In the women’s singles, world No. 2 Ahn Se-young lost 0-2 (16-21, 20-22) to No. 4 Chen Yufei. Ahn had recently broken her jinx by winning three straight games against Chen Yufei, but she crumbled under the pressure of losing the first two games for the Korean team. Their head-to-head record is now 4-9.
Ahn picked up the momentum in Group D with back-to-back wins over World No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi in the third round against Japan and World No. 3 Tai Tzu-ying in the quarterfinals against Chinese Taipei, only to be stopped again by former World No. 1 Chen Yufei.
Ahn also lost to Chen Yuefei in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Games against China. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she also lost to Chen in the women’s singles quarterfinals, missing out on a medal.
“I kept thinking over and over again that I could do it and I wanted to be confident, but my opponent was so good,” Ahn said. I think my experience is still lacking,” Ahn regretted.
Ahn’s victory was a big disappointment for Korea, as it would have allowed them to continue their winning ways in the men’s doubles of Kim Won-ho (Samsung Life) and Na Sung-seung (Gimcheon City Hall) and the women’s doubles of Lee So-hee (Incheon International Airport) and Baek Hana (MG New Village Bank).
South Korea last won the title in 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia (15th edition), ending China’s seven-game winning streak and claiming their fourth title in a row. However, they were pushed to the quarterfinals in Nanning, China, in 2019 and to third place in Vantaa, Finland, in 2021.스포츠토토
China proved to be the strongest team in the world by winning their third consecutive title.
Coach Kim Hak-gyun told the Korean media after the game, “Each player showed their own capabilities, and we showed some things that were lacking, but in the end, we didn’t do badly. We did a good job. We still have some things we need to work on, so I think we’re runners-up.”
“I want to praise the players because they did a good job, everyone did a good job,” he said, but also pointed out that “I think our players lacked a little bit of boldness, relatively speaking.”
“This will be the foundation for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games (postponed to September). Between the Asian Games and the 2024 Paris Olympics, there is a lot to prepare for. The coaches have a lot of work to do. The athletes, together with the coaches, are determined to renew and push for the goal,” he said.