The South Korean men’s badminton team’s weakest link is Kim Won-ho (24-Samsung Life) and Na Sung-seung (24-Gimcheon City Hall).
They are ranked just 332nd in the world in men’s doubles.
However, they are by no means the worst in the world.
They just haven’t had the chance to accumulate ranking points because they have only played together occasionally in team events, starting with the Asian Mixed Team Championships in February this year.
Kim Won-ho is ranked 15th in the world with Choi Sol-gyu (Yonex), and Na Sung-seung is ranked 39th with Jin Yong (Yonex).
However, the “same-age combination” that the national team experimented with in the “1.5 Jin” level hit the jackpot.
Kim Won-ho and Na Sung-seung won all seven matches they played at the Asian Mixed Team Championships and both matches at the World Mixed Team Championships (Sudirman Cup) in May.
The same was true on Aug. 28 against Malaysia in the men’s round of 16 at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
Kim Won-ho and Na Sung-seung led 2-1 in the fourth game of the match before defeating Ong Yoo-shin and Teo Ei (ranked ninth in the world) 2-0 (21-16 21-18) to advance to the quarterfinals.
Meeting after the match, the pair praised their partners for filling in for their weaknesses.
“Doubles is not just about playing alone, it’s about playing together,” said Kim Won-ho, “and our strength is that we trust each other and fill in each other’s gaps.”
Na Sung-seung also explained the secret of his chemistry with Kim Won-ho, saying, “When we play, there are some players who play well and some who don’t, and we have a lot of meetings about that.”
However, despite their performance, the men’s team’s road ahead is a thorny one.
After a 3-1 win over powerhouse Malaysia, South Korea will face top-ranked Indonesia in the quarterfinals.
Indonesia boasts the world No. 2 singles players Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and No. 5 Jonathan Christie, as well as the world No. 1 doubles pair of Pazar Alfian and Muhammad Ryan Ardianto.
As the No. 1 seed, Indonesia also had the stamina to make it through the round of 16 as a bye.
But Kim Won-ho and Na Sung-seung exclaimed, “It’s rather good.”
Kim Won-ho said, “When I saw the bracket, the phrase ‘opportunity arises from crisis’ came to mind. I think we can achieve great success in a difficult situation,” Kim Won-ho said confidently, while Na Sung-seung added, “We don’t know everything unless we look. We have been preparing hard, so if we fight for each other, we will have good results.” 파워볼게임