FIVE years have made a huge difference in South Korean shuttler An Se-young’s (pic) life.
Se-young was only 16 years old and relatively unknown on the international badminton scene when she made her maiden appearance at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games but now, the world No. 1 is riding high with her dominance in the World Tour.
The youngster even failed to clear her first-round hurdle after going down 15-21, 8-21 to China’s Chen Yufei at the last Asiad.
Fast forward to the ongoing Hangzhou Asian Games, Se-young had transformed into a true force to be reckoned with.
Se-young has stepped into a realm of her own in the women’s singles by securing an impressive total of nine titles – China, Japan, Korean, Singapore, Thailand and India Opens, Indonesian Masters, World Championships and All-England – from 13 tournaments that she had participated in this season so far.
She also finished runner-up in the Malaysian Open, German Open and Asia Championships.
Se-young’s consistent and outstanding performance has established a high benchmark and she was able to solidify her position as the world’s top-ranked player since ascending to that spot last month.
Se-young acknowledged her transformation since her Asiad debut.
“I was one of the youngest athletes and mostly stayed in the shadows,” said Se-young to the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
“This time, I’m going in with a strong track record of success.
“That’s the big difference.”
Homester Wang Zhiyi, who was selected for the women’s team event, is well aware of the threat that Se-young poses.
“Compared to last year, Se-young’s play is more threatening and she is faster,” said world No. 10 Zhiyi.
“She has added a lot more variety to her shots, she is more of an all-rounder now. For instance at the net, she can pause and trick you, and at the back she has a good mix of drop shots and smashes.”
The team event is scheduled to take place at the Binjiang Gymnasium starting this Thursday before the individual event begins from Oct 2-7.