Seoul: Badminton equipment manufacturer, Yonex, who lost the sponsorship deal with Badminton Korea Association (BKA) to Victor in 2009, has officially signed a 4-year sponsorship deal again with BKA on January 7th, 2019. However, former World No. 1 men’s doubles player, Lee Yong-Dae who left BKA at the end of 2016, would have to wait a little longer before BKA could reinstate his eligibility as member of the Korean national team.
The four-year contract made Yonex the official equipment provider to the Korean badminton national team, including racquets, strings, shoes, bags, apparel, accessories and shuttlecocks.
“Despite our recent ups and downs, we are pleased to sign with Yonex and we promise to keep improving the level of competitiveness among our players,” said President of BKA, Park Ki Hyun.
Meanwhile, the president of Yonex, Kusaki Hayashida also expressed his confidence in the deal.
“Korea is a badminton powerhouse, and we are excited to sign the contract with the Badminton Korea Association. We will provide our utmost support to the development of badminton in Korea,” said Hayashida.
Meanwhile, the President of Yonex’s Korean subsidiary, Kim Chul Woong, said that he would like Lee Yong Dae who currently belong to the Yonex Pro team in Korea to return to the Korean national team.
Nevertheless, BKA’s head coach Ahn Jae Chang told reporters that Lee Yong-Dae and other players who have left BKA including Kim Sa-rang, Kim Gi-Jung, Ko Sung-Hyun, Shin Baek-Cheol, and Yoo Yeon-Seong and are playing internationally as independent players, could not be selected for the national team for 2019.
But if they are able to show great ranking improvement as independent players, they would be allow to rejoin BKA few months before the Tokyo Olympics.