“I’ve been going to school in the morning followed by training in the afternoon with the national team.”
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) awarded 17-year-old An Se Young as the Most Promising Player of the Year in 2019. The youngster won 5 titles last year in her first year on the world tour.
She joined the national team at the age of 15 while still in middle school. Today, she is one of Korea’s brightest stars and a front-runner to win a medal at the Olympics. She is looking to repeat Bang Soo Hyun’s gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the women’s discipline.
She defeated former Olympic champion Li Xuerui to lift the 2019 New Zealand Open title, she then defeated Tai Tzu Ying in the 2019 Sudirman Cup, she defeated both 2016 Rio Olympic finalists P.V. Sindhu and Carolina Marin in a span of two weeks.
In May of 2019, she was ranked 78 and currently, she is the 9th in the BWF World Rankings (women’s singles).
In a recent interview with Badminton Unlimited, An sat down to talk about her rise in the badminton world. The following is an excerpt from the interview.
In Korea, we have a selection process to get into the national team. I participated in the selection based on recommendation, and eventually qualified for the national team as I won many matches in the try-outs.
Playing with the national team was a great experience as I was the youngest back then, and I gained a lot of experience competing against those internationally renowned players.
I didn’t expect to play so well in the national team, but I did tell myself that I would be in a better position if I played without any pressure and perhaps that helped.
I’ve been going to school in the morning followed by training in the afternoon with the national team. I wasn’t the decision-maker back then.
I played for about a year in the junior team before joining the national team. Since then, I’ve been following the decisions made by the national team. That’s how things have progressed since then.
Yes, I feel that they think of me as a baby.
Not that they treat me like a baby but perhaps it’s because of the generation gap? There is a generation gap, so I feel that there is a barrier when it comes to communication. Am I supposed to say this? (nervous laugh)