South Korean badminton player hopes to break out from Jungjun Kim’s shadows
Kyung Hoon Kim is targeting gold at the Para Badminton Worlds in South Korea
South Korean Para badminton players occupy two of the top three of the men’s WH2 singles category. On paper, that is great news for the country. For No. 3 ranked Kyung Hoon Kim though, it bothers him.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) Para Badminton World Championships 2017 begin Wednesday (22 November) in Ulsan, and that is where Kyung Hoon Kim hopes to overcome his rival and current No. 1 Jungjun Kim.
“I hit a slump, when I realised that I have more losses against my rival Kim Jungjun. I felt like I’m always in his shadow,” Kyung Hoon Kim said about the most difficult period of his sporting career.
“As we have been training together for a long time, we know each other’s strength and weakness very well. I do have a friendly rivalry with him, but also he is the player whom I should overcome.”
The two faced each other in the finals of the 2015 World Championships in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, with Jungjun Kim winning 21-19, 21-16.
“Actually, I’m still overcoming it. I don’t want to stay in the [third] place. I’m working hard consistently in order to turn into a champion.”
Kyung Hoon Kim’s club team is based in Ulsan, giving him an advantage with the familiarity of the competition venue and home fan support.
He also has an advantage having Jungjun Kim as his training partner.
“As we have been training together for a long time, we know each other’s strength and weakness very well,” Kyung Hoon Kim said. “I do have a friendly rivalry with him, but also he is the player whom I should overcome.”
This week, Kyung Hoon Kim is targeting three gold medals: one in the singles, one in the men’s doubles with Lee Dong Seop and a third in the mixed doubles with Son Ok Ja.
He has competed in four international tournaments this year, but said he was still in “poor shape” but has done as much preparation as he could to be ready for the World Championships.
“I’m paying much attention on regaining my physical strength. Moreover I spent most of time on increasing the accuracy of strokes,” he said.
Kyung Hoon Kim began Para badminton in 2005 and has been on the South Korean national team since 2008. He fractured his waist following an explosion accident at a chemical substance factory in 2001.
He says it would be a dream to compete at Tokyo 2020, where the sport will make its Paralympic debut. He knows what he must do in the next three years.
“A performance level is important, but most of all, I want to prevent an injury. Also I’ll keep checking my lack of techniques and increasing my physical strength for a long rally.”
The BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2017 run until Sunday (26 November). Around 270 athletes will compete over 22 medal events.
More information can be found on the BWF’s website.
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