Getting stronger through repeated failures… Ahn Se-young, world number 1 in badminton

Korean women’s badminton signboard Ahn Se-young (21) has a modifier that always follows. This is the ‘first time since Bang Soo-hyun’. Bang Soo-hyun is a gold medalist in women’s singles badminton at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Four years ago she also won a silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics. She is the only Korean singles player to be inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ of the World Badminton Federation.

Ahn Se-young won the women’s singles gold medal in 27 years since Bang Soo-hyeon in 1996 at the Jeonyeong Open in March. In July she also won the Korea Open and the Japan Open back to back, and on July 31 she moved up to world number one, overtaking Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi (26). This is also the first time in 27 years since Bang Soo-hyeon in September 1996. Including male players, it is also the first time since Son Wan-ho, who ranked first in the men’s singles in September 2017. Ahn Se-young’s first world ranking was 1335th (February 2018). With 5 years and 5 months of blood, sweat and tears, she proudly stood at the top of the world. Yamaguchi has been holding the world No. 1 for about 11 months since September 6 last year.

Ahn Se-young won 7 championships and 3 runner-ups in the 11 international competitions he participated in this year. She placed third in the other competition as well. The World Badminton Federation (BWF) put Ahn Se-young, who won 7 out of her 10 final stages, and wrote that she was ‘No Stopping’ and ‘Impeccable’. She even mobilized the word ‘The juggernaut (master of the universe)’ to describe Ahn Se-young’s unstoppable moves recently. She is on a winning streak ahead of the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September.

stood out since childhood. When he was in the first grade of Pungam Elementary School, he was called a ‘shuttlecock prodigy’ after he first picked up a racket while following his father (Ahn Jung-hyun), who was a former boxer and a member of the badminton club. At the age of 15, he defeated all high school, university, and business team players in the national badminton selection match. It was the first time in Korean badminton history that a singles player in the third year of middle school won the national team selection match. It was December 2017 when he became the youngest national badminton representative as a middle school student through selection, not federation recommendation. In the SBS drama 《Racquet Boys》, which aired in 2021, Han Se-yoon, a middle school student and national badminton player, appeared, and he was a character inspired by Ahn Se-young. After winning the championship, Han Se-yoon reproduced the same ceremony Ahn Se-young did in high school.

At a young age, when she wore the Taegeuk mark and lived in the national athlete’s village away from her family, it was so hard that she cried while looking at the stars at night. She felt lonely because she didn’t even have friends her age to share her troubles with. Still, I persevered.

In the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, they lost 0-2 in the first game and were eliminated at the speed of light. It was probably the lack of experience. The opponent was Chen Yufei (China), who was 4 years older than Ahn Se-young. Ahn Se-young, who confirmed the wall of the world, pledged to “prepare (for the Tokyo Olympics) without a day off” and kept that promise for three years. Nevertheless, in the quarterfinals of the singles at the Tokyo Olympics (2021), which was held a year later, he again met Yufei Chen and lost 0-2. He injured his ankle at the end of the second set, received emergency treatment, and burned his will to fight enough to go on the court, but the result was a ‘lose’.

Ahn Se-young, who shed tears after the game, confessed, “I continued to train without a day off, but I feel very sorry that the results did not come out as expected.” It wasn’t that I was disappointed. He said, “I prepared with no regrets and this level of achievement came out. I couldn’t have prepared like that, so I have to prepare harder.”

Ahn Se-young’s strengths are all-weather defense using wide court coverage along with strong stamina, ahead of the ‘Big 4’ Chen Yu-fei, Yamaguchi, and Tai Zi-ying in all opponents this year . While defending his opponent’s attack without water, he induces a crime. However, compared to his defense, his swing speed is slow and his offense has been evaluated as weak. Ahn Se-young, who realized her skills on the stage of the Asian Games and the Olympics, set out to make up for her shortcomings. And he showed further growth in his offensive side in 2023 as well.메이저사이트

Even Chen Yufei, who had a series of daggers in the Asian Games and Olympic stages, was surpassed. Until 2022, they only won 1 win (8 losses), but this year they won 4 wins (2 losses). Another rival, Yamaguchi, is behind with 8 wins and 12 losses in total, but this year alone, it is ahead with 3 wins and 2 losses. Tai Zi-ying (29, Taiwan), one of the rest of the world’s women’s badminton ‘Big 4’, took her 5 wins (1 loss) this year, further boosting her confidence. Her career record against opponents is 8 wins and 2 losses. An Se-yeong has the advantage of being the youngest compared to her Chen Yu-fei, Yamaguchi, and Tai Zi-ying. There’s also the point that she’s just entering her prime.

Ahn Se-young, who has risen to No. 1 in the world, is preparing for the World Badminton Individual Championships (August 21-27) to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. In this tournament, her ranking points are so high that she may lose the top spot if she loses the championship to another top ranked player such as Yamaguchi. However, if they win the championship with the same momentum as now, they can declare the ‘Ahn Se-young era’. Considering that it is a prelude to the Asian Games, its importance is even higher. The aftermath may continue until the 2024 Paris Olympics. This is because in the badminton women’s singles, Asia’s No. 1 is eventually the world’s No. 1.

Ahn Se-young says, “My success didn’t happen overnight. It took six years to get here (world number one), so it’s a dream come true.” Her journey included the honor of being the youngest national badminton player, but also the pain of being eliminated in the round of 32 at the Asian Games and the quarterfinals at the Olympics. She devoted herself to training in the midst of her experience of failure, and finally stood on top of the world, her long-cherished dream. Ahn Se-young said, “I have a lot of experience in losing, so I prepare hard.” Now, the only thing left to do is to prove that world No. 1 did not happen by chance.

Korean badminton was shocked to not win even a single medal during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. However, during this Hangzhou Asian Games, all 7 detailed events are looking for prizes. She, along with Ahn Se-young, is a strong gold medal runner in women’s doubles. In the women’s doubles world, Lee So-hee and Baek Ha-na ranked second, and Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong ranked third. The world No. 1 is China’s Chen Qingchen-Zaipan pair, which was defeated by Baek Ha-na and Lee Yoo-rim in the semifinals of the Japan Open. Along with women’s singles and women’s doubles, the women’s team event is also aiming for a gold medal. In the men’s doubles, the world’s ninth-ranked Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae pair, and the world’s fifth-ranked mixed doubles pair, Suh Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jeong, are expected.

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