Ko Sung-Hyun and Shin Baek-Cheol are free to compete as independent players

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The return of Kim Sa-rang, Kim Gi-Jung, Ko Sung-Hyun, Shin Baek-Cheol, Lee Yong-Dae and Yoo Yeon-Seong (from left) will undoubtedly spice up the men's double competition.
The return of Kim Sa-rang, Kim Gi-Jung, Ko Sung-Hyun, Shin Baek-Cheol, Lee Yong-Dae and Yoo Yeon-Seong (from left) will undoubtedly spice up the men's double competition.

Seoul: The 2014 men’s doubles world champions Ko Sung-Hyun and Shin Baek-Cheol of South Korea have won their 1-year legal battle against Korean Badminton Association (BKA) after BKA has denied them from competing independently.

Ko and Shin have started a legal action against BKA on May 2017 where they took the association to court to challenge its regulation which states that male players with Olympic medals or with world or Asian Games gold medals are barred from competing independently in international ranking events until they reach age 31 (age 29 for female players).

Under that regulation, Korean shuttlers such as the 38-year-old men’s singles ace Lee Hyun Il could play on the international stage with his own sponsor and support staff. Although players such as Ko Sung-Hyun, Lee Yong Dae, Shin Baek Cheol, and Kim Sa Rang have indicated the wish to do the same but they couldn’t due to the BKA rules.

Ko Sung-Hyun who just turn 31 on May 21, 2018, could be eligible to compete internationally under that BKA rules, but Lee Yong Dae would have to wait until 2019 to receive the same permission, while Shin Baek Cheol would be barred until October 2020.

Fortunately, the Seoul High Court has quashed BKA’s regulation and ordered BKA to suspend that regulation this week.

With the BKA regulation overturned by the Seoul High Court, it would spark the return of several notable men’s doubles players including Lee Yong-Dae, 29, Kim Sa-Rang, 28, and Kim Gi-Jung, 27, which could increase competitiveness in the men’s doubles category.

Tan Wee Kiong who won the Rio Olympic men’s doubles silver medal, was happy to see the return of his good friends.

“A lot of them are good friends of mine, I am excited to see them start competing again,” said Tan.

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