Ex-badminton champion back at coaching

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Ex-badminton champion back at coaching

Two-time badminton world champion Ra Kyung-min has returned to the coaching circle after a four-year absence.

In a press conference Tuesday, Ra, 34, announced her signing with Daekyo, a Korean semiprofessional club.

Ra, a former national team doubles star, played for Daekyo from 1999 to 2004 and served as a coach from 2005 to 2006.

“I am just as excited and anxious now as I was when I first joined this team as a player,” she said. “I will try to communicate with our players to overcome any differences we may have in the beginning.”

Ra is one of the most decorated shuttlers in Korea.

She won world titles in mixed doubles in 1999 and 2003 and grabbed silver in mixed doubles at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and bronze in women’s doubles at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

She has also won titles at the Asian Games and captured dozens of international tournaments sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Ra once won 70 straight matches and 14 straight tournaments.

She said Tuesday that she wants to “get some satisfaction vicariously” through her players.

“There’s something I wasn’t able to do as a player,” Ra said with a smile, alluding to the Olympic gold medal missing from her otherwise glittering playing resume.

“I will work hard with my players and will count on them to do the things I couldn’t do.”

Ra is married to her former mixed doubles partner, Kim Dong-moon, who coaches the Canadian national team. Ra said Kim provided encouragement after she’d received the offer.

“I had wanted to come back to coaching all along, so it wasn’t a difficult decision,” Ra said. “And my husband pushed me, too. He told me to go for it in my new role.”

When asked if she’d be willing to take over the Korean national team, Ra said she’s currently focused on the Daekyo squad.

“I only just signed and coaching the national team hasn’t entered my mind,” Ra said.

“I want to first take my team to the top. I’ve watched the players train and they haven’t lived up to my expectations yet. We all share a common goal and we’re driven to meet that,” she said.

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