Wednesday, May 8, 2019
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Korea’s women’s singles spearhead Sung Ji Hyun pulled out of the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019 citing a wrist injury, posing a challenge for the defending champions.
Sung joins men’s singles ace Son Wan Ho on the sidelines of the tournament. Both had played crucial roles in Korea’s victory at the last edition of the Sudirman Cup in Gold Coast.
Sung’s injury is expected to take between two and three weeks to heal.
The defending champions’ women’s singles responsibilities will fall upon 17-year-old schoolgirl An Se Young and Kim Ga Eun. The Koreans are in Group 1C with Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong.
An Se Young won the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open on Sunday, beating former Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the final. Kim Ga Eun’s best performance this season was a winning run at the Lingshui China Masters in March. She had also taken Carolina Marin to three games at the Indonesia Masters.
Korea have several players who led their team to glory in Gold Coast, although some of the pairs have been reconfigured.
Chae YuJung, for instance, who won the final mixed doubles match with Choi Solgyu, has established a successful partnership with Seo Seung Jae. Choi himself has switched between various partners and it will be interesting to see how he is used in Nanning.
Korea has strong women’s doubles players in Chang Ye Na, Shin Seung Chan, Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong.
Men’s singles will be in the hands of Heo Kwang Hee and Lee Dong Keun.
Chinese Taipei have a balanced squad, with strong singles players in Chou Tien Chen, Wang Tzu Wei and Tai Tzu Ying, and doubles players like Wang Chi-Lin, Lee Yang, Lu Ching Yao, Yang Po Han and others. Their only concern at the moment might be women’s doubles. World No.40 pair Hsu Ya Ching and Hu Ling Fang are missing in the line-up, but No.44 duo Chang Ching Hui/Yang Ching Tun are included.
Hong Kong have some big names in Ng Ka Long Angus (men’s singles) and Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet (mixed doubles).
Although none of the Hong Kong men’s doubles pairs are highly ranked (Yonny Chung/Tam Chun Hei are their highest pair at No.64), they have a few options in that department.
With Chinese Taipei sitting pretty, at least on paper, the Korea-Hong Kong tie could well decide the second qualifier from the group.
Men: Choi Solgyu, Heo Kwang Hee, Kang Min Hyuk, Kim Won Ho, Lee Dong Keun, Na Sung Seung, Seo Seung Jae
Women: An Se Young, Chae YuJung, Chang Ye Na, Kim Ga Eun, Kim So Yeong, Kong Hee Yong, Shin Seung Chan
Men: Chou Tien Chen, Lee Yang, Liao Min Chun, Lu Ching Yao, Su Ching Heng, Tseng Min Hao, Wang Chi-Lin, Wang Tzu Wei, Yang Chih Chieh, Yang Po Han
Women: Chang Ching Hui, Chen Su Yu, Hsieh Pei Shan, Liang Ting Yu, Pai Yu Po, Tai Tzu Ying, Wu Ti Jung, Yang Ching Tun
Men: Yonny Chung, Law Cheuk Him, Lee Cheuk Yiu, Ng Ka Long Angus, Or Chin Chung, Tang Chun Man, Tam Chun Hei, Yeung Shing Choi
Women: Chau Hoi Wah, Cheung Ngan Yi, Ng Tsz Yau, Ng Wing Yung, Tse Ying Suet, Yeung Nga Ting, Yip Pui Yin, Yuen Sin Ying