Badminton’s bigger names may have swerved the Super 300 event in Barcelona this week but a quick look down the winners list sees a name that would fit in the highest echelons of any hall of fame.
Sitting there, alongside the men’s doubles title, is that of 2008 Olympic champion Lee Yong Dae – the very same legend with 69 world circuit titles to his name.
The South Korean, playing as an independent entry alongside 2016 Olympian Kim Gi-jung, was involved in competitive matchplay for the first time in 10 months – since a semi final at his home Superseries event in Korea – and just the second time in 22 months since word he was taking a break from the international scene.
What the future holds in store for the 29 year old, now part of the YONEX stable of legends, is still very much up in the air. Sunday’s 44 minute 21-13 21-17 win over Thailand’s Bodin Isara and Maneepong Jongjit to secure the Barcelona Spain Masters title - his 70th at international level- will, however, set fans’ minds and pulses racing.
Twice an Olympic medallist, LYD has two YONEX All England titles and six world championship medals to his name although world gold eluded him during his 14 year career at senior level.
Since choosing to distance himself from the world circuit, Lee Yong Dae has been part of YONEX’ team of legends which also features Peter Gade, Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat. The Legends have been travelling the world, inspiring through badminton and taking the sport to new audiences.
The winning return for Yong Dae and Kim Gi-Jung on the World Tour comes hot on the heels of that of former team mates Ko Sung-Hyun and Shin Baek-Cheol who became Vietnam Open champions earlier this month.
What chance of a YONEX All England return for Lee Yong Dae in 2019?
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