South Korean doubles player Ko Sung-hyun (left) is going great guns at the All-England by powering into two semi-finals (men's and mixed doubles) despite being just released from military training. - Filepic
BIRMINGHAM: SOUTH Korean Ko Sung-hyun is so happy to be holding a badminton racquet rather than a gun.
Sung-hyun was released from military service earlier after Lee Yong-dae and Kim Ki-jung’s impending ban for missing dope tests left the South Koreans short of men’s doubles players.
And the 25-year-old showed just how happy he was to be playing badminton once more by powering into two semi-finals at the All-England on Friday.
First, he partnered Kim Ha-na to eliminate the Danish challenge of Mads Pieler Kolding-Kamilla Rytter Juhl 21-15, 19-21, 21-13 in the mixed doubles quarter-finals.
He then paired up with Shin Baek-cheol to smash past seventh seeds Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin of Taiwan 21-17, 19-21, 21-14.
“I’m really happy to be playing well. Usually, we won’t be released so early from military service but mine was a special case as we are in a bit of a crisis,” said Sung-hyun with a wide smile.
“In fact, I’m just really happy to be playing badminton again since I entered military service last December.
“I’ve only been training for three weeks, so it’s been going well for me.”
Sung-hyun will have a massive test in the mixed doubles as world champions Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir are the next opponents.
In men’s doubles, Sung-hyun-Baek-cheol will take on Japanese second seeds Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa.
While South Korea are flexing their muscles in the men’s doubles, Malaysia’s new No. 1 pair Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong failed to keep the momentum going after falling tamely 18-21, 12-21 to Gideon Markus Fernaldi-Markis Kido of Indonesia.
“We made too many mistakes and were unable to control the net. That wasn’t our usual game,” said Wee Kiong.
“We were also affected by a few service fault calls against us ... and being emotionally unstable during the match was our biggest letdown.”
Gideon-Markis, who won the French Open last year, will meet compatriots and reigning world champions Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan in the semi-finals.
Ahsan-Hendra just had enough in reserves to pack off the last Chinese pair in the fray – Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan – 23-21, 22-20.
The European challenge was also wiped out after the husband-wife mixed doubles pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock of England lost 10-21, 13-21 to world No. 1 Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei.