Ahn Se-young (21-Samsung Life Insurance) is part of a spectacular finale for the Korean team at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games alongside men’s soccer.
On July 7, she defeated Chen Yufei (25-China) 2 games to 1 (21-18 17-21 21-8) in the badminton women’s singles final to claim a priceless gold medal.
The victory was especially special as she overcame a serious injury during the match.
Ahn was leading 18-16 in the first set when she was attacked by Chen Yufei and went down on her right knee. Ahn, who looked in pain as she received treatment, won the first set but dropped the second.
It was such a heartbreaking scene that her mother, who was cheering her on from the stands, cried and shouted, “Se-young, just quit!”
But Ahn miraculously came back in the third set. With her trademark iron-walled defense, which included throwing her body around in a way that made you wonder if her injury was real, Ahn overwhelmed Chen Yufei, who was tired of her opponent’s fake comebacks.
After the match, Ahn said, “I heard a ‘pop’ in my knee and felt like it was out of place,” and a hospital checkup revealed a torn tendon near her knee, which would require two to five weeks of rehabilitation. Despite this injury, Ahn overcame adversity with her indomitable fighting spirit.
In particular, she stood out as a true badminton queen by defeating her ‘nemesis’ perfectly. Ahn defeated Chen Yuefei in the women’s team final and then in the individual final on the first day of the tournament, handing the Hangzhou native her only two losses in her hometown.
Ahn has a bitter history with Chen Yufei.
Five years ago at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, Ahn was knocked out in the first round by Chen Yufei.
Three years later, she lost in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, and until last year, she was 1-8 against her.
Of course, Ahn also lost to Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) and He Bingjiao (CHN), who are five years older than her, with 5 wins, 10 losses, and 4 losses, respectively, until last year. 안전토토사이트
However, it was Chen Yufei who struck first in the big tournaments. Most notably, Ahn suffered her longest losing streak to Chen Yufei at seven games.
However, there was someone who helped her rise to the occasion.
It’s her mother, Lee Hyun-hee (48). Her mother, Lee Hyun-hee (48), comforted and encouraged her daughter with a warm heart and a positive mindset, and in the end, Ahn Se-young was able to overcome her nemesis.
“When Se-young lost seven times in a row, she once said, ‘Mom, why can’t I keep seeing the real Chen Yufei,'” Lee, who watched her daughter compete in the Asian Games, told CBS North Carolina News.
“Of course, when Se-young became a member of the national team at a young age, she couldn’t play against them (Chen Yuefei, Yamaguchi, and He Bingzhao) for the first time, but she was especially hard on Chen Yuefei.” Ahn became the second junior high school student after Lee Yong-dae (35-Yonex) to earn the taekwondo mark, the youngest at the December 2017 national team trials when she was in the third grade at Gwangju Gymnasium.
“When will Chen Yufei train you like a sparring match with the world number one?” she asked, and Lee said, “There’s no such thing as a tree that can’t take 10 shots, but when you meet Chen Yufei like this, it’s like he’s giving you a chance to train for sure.”
“I said, ‘I’m going to have to keep seeing him, so I’m going to give him a chance so he can find a way,’ and I said, ‘Let’s go see him.
Ahn finally overcame her nemesis in July last year. After seven games and eight sets, she won the singles final of the 2022 Malaysia Masters 2-0.
“Before she actually took 10 shots, she took 7 or 8,” Lee said. “After the win, I said, ‘Se-young, I think that’s why you’re so great.
It’s not all about willpower, but you found a way, covered your physical strength, and overcame yourself,'” Lee smiled.
The nemesis relationship has since been reversed.
Ahn has now defeated Chen Yufei seven times in nine meetings this year. The head-to-head record is still 8-10, but it’s only a matter of time before the tables turn.
Ahn is at the peak of her fitness and skill, while Chen Yufei has been on the decline since the Tokyo Olympics.
Other players are also now turning the tables on her. Ahn has improved to 8-12 this year, including a 3-2 win over Yamaguchi, while He Bingzhao is 6-4, including a quarterfinal appearance at this event.
“I think she realized that it’s not about her opponent, it’s about herself and what she has to think about,” Lee said.
“It’s not about who I have to beat, but I think I’ve realized what kind of mindset I have to play with and how I have to solve the game, so I think I can believe it now,” she smiled.
Ahn has now joined the ranks of Korean badminton legends.
This year, she followed in the footsteps of women’s singles legend Su-hyun Choi and broke through where she hadn’t gone before.
She won the All-England Open for the first time in 27 years, became the No. 1 women’s singles player in the world, won her first Asian Games singles gold medal in 29 years, and won two team titles.
At the World Championships (Individual) in Copenhagen, Denmark, Lee became the first Korean to win a singles gold medal, a feat not accomplished by Hwang Soo-hyun.
“During the award ceremony, the Korean flag was raised and the East Sea and Mount Paektu were shown, and I felt that this is what it means to be a patriot,” Lee recalled, “I was moved to think that I had really become a world-class athlete.”
In fact, the legend of Ahn Se-young began with her parents. “I used to play sports (boxing and soft tennis), so I didn’t want my children to play,” says her father, Mr. Ahn, 54.
“But when my wife and I joined a badminton club, my children were naturally exposed to the sport.”
“I would take them to the club in the evening and play with them, and then the elite coach who was giving me lessons said, ‘It’s okay to let them play,’ so I started in earnest.”
Ahn competed in the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games for the national boxing team, but did not medal. “My daughter has made up for my father’s disappointment after 29 years,” Ahn said with a smile. “This year, Se-young has hardly been home at all, but when I call out ‘Ahn Se-young’ on the court, she waves at me, and I’m happy with that,” he says with a wry smile.
In fact, the couple was surprised by their daughter’s injury during the final.
“I was so worried,” Lee said after the match, her eyes still red. An official from Ahn’s team, Samsung Life Insurance, who was cheering alongside her, said, “My parents were surprised and almost fainted.” “They usually cheer loudly, but after the injury, they couldn’t do it properly,” he said.
However, their daughter battled through and left her mark on Korean badminton history.
“We are so proud and happy that Se-young overcame her injury and won the gold medal,” the couple said. The legend of Korean badminton is just beginning.