The Star Online > Sports
Saturday May 15, 2004
South Koreans have a new starlet



SOUTH KOREA have lost their top women’s doubles ace Ra Kyung-min but they have found a very capable replacement in teenager Lee Yun-hwa.

The skinny-looking lass turned in a heroic performance for South Korea when she contributed two points on Thursday to dash Denmark’s hopes of reaching the Uber Cup final.

The Koreans fought back from two matches down and Yun-hwa combined with Lee Kyung-won to break Danish hearts in the deciding second doubles tie.

The scratch combination came back from 1-9 down to upset the World No 11 combination of Pernille Harder-Mette Schjoldager 15-13, 5-15, 15-10.

Denmark had already taken the first two singles points easily through Camilla Martin and Tine Rasmussen.

But just when they thought they had it won, it all went wrong. Yun-hwa won the third singles tie when she whipped Camilla Sorensen 11-1, 11-7.

The Koreans then drew level through the first doubles pair Lee Hyo-jung-Hwang Yu-mi, who outgunned Rikke Olsen-Ann-Lou Jorgensen 15-10, 6-15, 17-15.

Then, the tireless Yun-hwa came back to bag the winning point with Kyung-won, whose regular partner is Kyung-min.

However, Kyung-min who forms a world beating mixed doubles combination with Kim Dong-moon, was unable to play as she is down with a knee injury suffered while the team were training in Kuala Lumpur last month.

“I played without any pressure. I just wanted to get some experience and my teammates helped guide me. Little did I know that I would end up getting two points to put South Korea into the final.

“This will be one moment I will not forget,” said Yun-hwa, who shed tears of joy after nailing the final point.

She was absorbed into the national team last year but this is her first major international competition.

In the final against defending champions China today, South Korea are expected to have little chance of winning.

But team manager Kim Joong-soo said they are only hoping to steal a point.

“It will already be a good achievement if we can win one match from China. We hope Jun-jae-youn can deliver in the first singles.

“Against China, we will just play our normal game. We have nothing to lose.” For the record, South Korea were beaten 1-3 by China in the final in Guangzhou two years ago.