Singles Only Queen? “There’s a ‘King Kong Joe’!”

While women’s badminton has produced its first world No. 1 singles player in 27 years in Ahn Se-young, doubles, a traditionally strong discipline, has its sights set on the Asian Games.

Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong, the so-called “King Kong pair,” are giving the recently surging Lee So-hee and Baek Hana a run for their money.

Reporter Seo Bong-kook reports.

This March, the Korea Open, the Wimbledon of the badminton world, will be held.

In the women’s doubles final, the Korean pair of Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong defeated the underdogs Lee So-hee and Baek Hana to win the gold medal.

In the international competition that followed, the pair battled back and forth for the podium, eventually earning the No. 2 and No. 3 rankings in the world.

In particular, Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong, dubbed the “King Kong pair” after the players’ surnames, used a variety of tactics at the recent Japan Open to knock off China’s No. 1 pair Chen Qingcheng and Zhao Zifan, setting the stage for gold in Hangzhou.

[Kim So-young: (The win) gave us the idea that we need to play a little more aggressively when we play Chinese players].

The inspiration for the two is teammates Lee So-hee and Baek Ha-na, who formed last fall but have steadily risen through the ranks to defeat some of the world’s biggest names.

Baek Hana’s steady defense and offensive transitions make her a medal-winning duo.

[Lee Sohee: I think our opponents have perfected their analysis of us, and we need to prepare with more details in the future].

The team’s coaching staff expressed confidence that winning a medal at the Asian Games is not just a dream.

[Lee Kyung-won / Badminton National Team Coach: The goal is to have a final among our players at the Asian Games. We have two pairs in the top eight in the Olympic race, so it’s a dream and a goal to see two pairs in the final at the Olympics].

As the Asian Games are being held in China, Korean badminton will have to overcome home-court advantage, including favorable officiating, to erase the shame of the last Jakarta Games.안전놀이터

Aiming to dethrone the mighty Chinese, our athletes will have to compete with fierce internal rivalries and thoroughly analyze their opponents to dream of hanging the Korean flag on the podium in Hangzhou this fall.

I’m Seo Bong-kook for YTN.

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