The Star Online > Sports

Thursday June 24, 2004

S. Korea sending second stringers to Malaysian Open




PETALING JAYA: South Korea will not have their best shuttlers available for the US$120,000 Malaysian Open Badminton Championships at the Sukpa Indoor Stadium in Kuantan next week.

The Thomas Cup semi-finalists have decided to leave their Olympic-bound shuttlers at home and will only be sending their second stringers for the four-star tournament from June 29-July 4.

Missing from the entry list released by the organisers yesterday were world number five Lee Hyun-II, Shon Seung-mo and Park Tae-sang. All the three singles players will represent South Korea in Athens.

Park Sung-hwan and Jang Young-soo will be the representatives for the men’s singles competition in the Malaysian Open.

Also skipping the Malaysian Open this year are their two formidable doubles pairs of Ha Tae-kwon-Kim Dong-moon and Lee Dong-soo-Yoo Yong-sung.

The Korean challenge for the doubles will come from Yim Bang-eun-Kim Yong-hyun and Lee Jae-jin-Hwang Ji-man.

Also opting out of the Malaysian Open is their feared mixed doubles partnership of Dong-moon-Ra Kyung-min.

The top ranked women’s doubles pair of Kyung-min-Lee Kyung-won will not be competing either. Their world number six pair of Lee Hyo-jung-Hwang Yu-mi will be the sole entry this time.

The Koreans had stated earlier that the Olympics would be their top priority, hence, their decision to stay home to fine-tune their preparations.

South Korea failed to win a gold medal in the Sydney Olympics four years ago.

However, local fans in Kuantan will get a chance to watch Japan Open champion Ronald Susilo in action.

Ronald will be leading a six-member strong Singapore team to compete in the men’s and women’s singles, and women’s doubles events. The tournament is the last Open to be held before the Olympics in Athens in August. Thomas Cup champions China, Indonesia and Denmark have confirmed that they would be sending their national teams for the Malaysian Open.