Inspired by Lin Dan and Hendra Setiawan, Lee Yong-Dae determined to return to where he once belonged

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Lee Yong-Dae still has the burning fire to rise to the top in men's doubles. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Lee Yong-Dae still has the burning fire to rise to the top in men's doubles. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Seoul: Former World No. 1 men’s doubles player, Lee Yong-Dae of South Korea who retired from international badminton after winning the 2016 Korea Open Superseries title with then partner Yoo Yeon Seong, but subsequently made his return to competitive badminton with Kim Gi-Jung by winning the 2018 Barcelona Spain Masters. They pair is currently ranked No. 31 in the world.

The 30-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the best doubles players in the sport, is surely targeting the possibility of featuring in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Currently, the men’s doubles event is mostly dominated by young players, such as Marcus Fernaldi / Kevin Sanjaya and Li Junhui/ Liu Yuchen,” said Lee.

“I may not as fit as them, but my experience should push us up the rankings slowly,” added Lee.

“It’s not because I am older, but because they are more energetic than me. For singles players, stamina is very important. But for men’s doubles, to be on the top, the players have to be on certain skill level.”

“I may not be able to compete with them in stamina, but I believed I still have the skills, and have a lot of experience. I have tried to maintain my level. And if I continue to work hard with my partner, I’m sure we are able to climb up the BWF ranking,” added Lee.

When asked what has motivated him to continue his badminton career? He said he was inspired by two other veterans in the sport namely Lin Dan and Hendra Setiawan, where Lin took home the Malaysia Open three weeks ago, while Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan won their second All England title on March, 10, 2019.

Lee Yong-Dae/Kim Gi-Jung are currently the highest ranked Korean men’s doubles pair in BWF ranking, followed by the 2014 World Champions Ko Sung-Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol at World No. 36.

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