In the badminton world this South Korean is one of the finest doubles players ever. Not only is he the most successful shuttler in the World Championships, the 48-year-old also has the 1992 Barcelona doubles gold in his resume, the first time the event was held competitively in the Olympics. In a chat with HT, Park Joo-Bong, who currently coaches the Japan national team, spoke his mind. Excerpts:
You have five World Championship titles. What was the inspiration behind being the best? (1985-1991)
I won two men’s doubles and three mixed doubles titles. The event was held every two years unlike every year these days. It helped that when I played there were no Super Series events. Secondly, the medal in Barcelona was big because it was the first Olympics. In South Korea, the medals were a big motivation to receive pension. So, I can say the pension was a motivating factor to win medals.
You were called a doubles specialist but your singles record says otherwise… (He holds the South Korean national record for 103 consecutive singles wins)
Badminton in my country was small. We played both singles and doubles. It was only when I played an international event I heard the term ‘specialist’. However, during the course of the tournament my doubles record was better. So that's when I decided to focus on doubles.
How much has doubles changed over the years?
In my time, each team had a style of play. While China attacked more, Malaysia and Indonesia played defensive. We, Koreans, played a mixture of two styles. Now, the game has changed because of an increase in speed.