With two titles from their last three tournaments, Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the Olympic year. As Paris 2024 draws closer, the world champions will be strong contenders to win Korea’s first gold in men’s doubles in two decades.
In a category that is the most competitive of all five, and with any of the top 15 pairs capable of beating each other, Kang and Seo do cut a distinctive sight. Seo’s dexterous lefty all-court skills, and Kang’s solidity and power make the pair stand out, and they have become more consistent as a pair after an uneven early period since their partnership began in the Covid-disrupted season of 2021.
The World Championships proved they could win on the biggest of stages, and they showcased that winning ability once again at the end of the year, at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2023 when they beat the then-world No.1 pair and home favourites Wang Chang/Liang Wei Keng in straight games.
“The level of speed and attack in men’s doubles has become very intense now, so it is very challenging to keep up with the other pairs. If we slip slightly we could fall behind, so it’s very important to keep up our motivation.”
The twin titles mean the Koreans have regained the momentum they had after winning the World Championships, and while there are a number of strong contenders for men’s doubles gold in Paris, Kang and Seo’s recent performances have elevated their prospects.
“We keep pushing each other,” said Seo. “We are thinking that our opponents are also working as hard as us, so that motivates us to work harder than ever.”