Lee Yong-dae (Hangul: 이용대; Hanja: 李龍大; born September 11, 1988 in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do) is a male badminton player from South Korea and is renowned for being a doubles specialist. He has ranked #1 in Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles with 4 different partners, and has currently a total of 42 Superseries titles. His current partners are Yoo Yeon-seong in men's doubles and Lee so hee in mixed doubles. Lee Yong-dae Real Instagram @yongdae88.
Lee Yong Dae started playing badminton at his local elementary school at the age of 8, taking up the sport to lose weight. His youth club is Samsung Electromechanics. He joined the national badminton team of South Korea in 2003, at the age of 15 years.
Lee started off 2004 with the French Open International, where he played the men singles, men doubles (with Jung Jung Yong) and mixed doubles (with Kang Hae Won) category. In the Mixed Doubles event, the pair managed to reach the semi-finals, before losing to the Russians. He also participated in several tournaments without much results. In the Vietnam Satellite, he reached the quarter-finals in the Mixed Doubles category, partnering Oh Seul Ki.
Still struggling to find the right partner, he played several tournaments without getting any big results. However, he did reach the finals of the Cheers Asian Satellite in the mixed doubles and the men doubles category. With Ha Jung-eun as his partner, he won Asian Junior Badminton Championships.
In July, Lee captured three gold medals at the Asian Junior Championships in Cheras, Malaysia where he played a pivotal role to secure the boys doubles and mixed doubles victories for South Korea and frustrate Malaysia in the mixed team final.
In November, Lee made another gold medal hat trick at the BWF World Junior Championships where he led Team Korea to their first world junior championship, never allowing any single set in boys doubles, mixed doubles and mixed team event through the tournament.
In January, Lee and Jung participated in the Malaysia Open, the first ever BWF Super Series event. There they got through the first round but had to resign due to injury. However a week later they blew away competition to take the first prize at the Korea Open. On top of that, Lee also won the mixed doubles with Lee Hyo-jung. Lee and Jung lost to Lee Jae-jin and Hwang Ji-man in the final of the German Open; in mixed doubles Lee and Lee lost to Zheng Bo and Gao Ling of China in the semi-finals. Zheng and Gao went on to win the tournament.
At the Swiss Open, Lee and Jung took another title, winning the final in three games. For the rest of the year there were no good results in mixed doubles for Lee, mainly because he didn't participate or played with another partner. In men's doubles, he and Jung were eliminated in a disappointing second round.
To start 2008, Lee, together with Jung, disappointingly lost to an unseeded pair in the second round of the Malaysia Open. Mixed doubles went better for Lee and Lee this time, finishing as runners-up. They lost to He Hanbin and Yu Yang of China. In Korea, things went a bit better in men's doubles, achieving a quarterfinal. Lee and Jung lost to runners-up Luluk Hadiyanto and Alvent Yulianto of Indonesia there, but in mixed doubles Lee and Lee won the title against Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa of Indonesia.
More than a month later, Lee and Jung came back with a bang to win the All England Open of 2008, beating Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah in a thrilling semi-final (coming back from a 16–20 deficit in the third game) and Lee Jae-jin and Hwang Ji-man, also from Korea, in the final. In mixed doubles Lee lost in the quarterfinals to eventual winners Zheng Bo and Gao Ling. A week later, Lee was victorious with Jung in the Swiss Open too. In mixed doubles they lost against He Hanbin and Yu Yang, both of who went on to the semi-finals.
Not having participated in the two following Super Series events, supposedly because of their preparations for the Summer Olympics, Lee was disappointingly knocked out in the first round in Beijing with Jung. However, Lee and Lee upset the badminton world and went on to get the gold medal in mixed doubles, becoming the youngest gold medalists in Olympic badminton.
Lee Yong-dae started a bright year when he and Jung Jae-sung won the Malaysia Super Series. In Korea Super Series, Lee won the mixed doubles title with Lee Hyo-jung, while he and Jung only became the finalists. However, as Jung had to join the military service for two months, Lee paired with Shin Baek-cheol and claimed the German Open title. In the Swiss Open Super Series, Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung reached the mixed doubles final but failed to capture the trophy as they lost to China's Zheng Bo and Ma Jin. A month later, they subdued teammates Yoo Yeon-seong and Kim Min-jung to clinch the Asian Badminton Championship title.
In the Sudirman Cup on May 10–17, Lee Yong-dae brought South Korea to the final to meet defending champion China. Lee always won in both the men's doubles and mixed doubles events. However, in the final, he and Lee Hyo-jung bowed to Zheng Bo and Yu Yang, while a few hours later he and Jung Jae-sung also surrendered to Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng. China then won the cup for the consecutive third time 3–0.
In June, Lee Yong-dae played in the Singapore Open Super Series, but he did not win any title. In Indonesia, a week later, nevertheless, he reached both the finals of men's doubles and mixed doubles event. Again, he and Lee Hyo-jung were defeated by Zheng Bo and Ma Jin, the Chinese pair who beat them in Singapore semi-final. Happily, he took the men's doubles title with Jung Jae-sung, conquering China's top pair Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng.
In November, after a two-month absence due to injury, Lee Yong-dae returned to play in Hong Kong Open Super Series. Though he and Lee Hyo-jung lost in the first round, he fared better in the men's doubles with Jung Jae-sung. In the final, they defeated Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen of Denmark.
On January 17, Lee Yong-dae successfully started the 2010 year by winning Korea Open Super Series in Seoul with Jung Jae-sung. In the final, the top seeds defeated Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng of China 21–11, 14–21, and 21–18.
However, in the mixed doubles, Lee who paired with Lee Hyo-jung were subdued 13–21 and 16–21 by Chinese pair Tao Jiaming and Zhang Yawen in the first round. The same pair defeated Lee and Lee in the second round of Malaysia Open a week later without a match.
In March's All England, Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung reached the semi-finals, playing Widhianto/Natsir. The third seeds lost to the Indonesian pair 16–21, 21–18, and 8–21.
With Jung Jae-sung in the men's doubles, Lee only made it to the quarter-finals, defeated 18–21, 10–21 by Xu Chen and Guo Zhendong of China.
Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung grabbed their first title of the year in Swiss Open Super Series after subduing compatriots Shin Baek-cheol and Yoo Hyun-young in straight sets, 21–14 and 21–18.
Lee Yong-dae was absence in Thomas Cup due to injury. However, his comeback was successful as he and Jung Jae-sung won the first tournament they play after the injury, Taiwan Grand Prix Gold. The third seeds beat compatriot Cho Gun-woo and Kwon Yi-goo.
In the Asian Games in November, Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung helped South Korea men's team to reach the final. They beat Chinese Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng in the final, yet Korea was failed to win the gold medal as China downed Korea 3–1.
Yong-dae started the 2011 season with a not-so-satisfying result in the Super Series Finals in Taiwan as he and Jung Jae-sung only became the finalist.
However, their disappointment disappeared after they became the first winner of Korea Open Super Series Premier in January. In the final, they conquered top-seeded Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen easily, 21–6 and 21–13.
With the retirement of Lee Hyo-jung, Lee has repaired with Ha Jung-eun in the mixed doubles. They won the US Open Grand Prix Gold in July with a 21–19, 21–13 win over Taiwan's fifth-seeded Chen Hung-Ling and Cheng Wen-Hsing.
The next week, Yong-dae participated in the Yonex Canada Open at the Richmond Olympic Oval. With Ko Sung-hyun, he won the title. However, in the mixed doubles, Yong-dae and his partner, Ha Jung-eun, lost to qualifier Cheng Liu and Luo Ying in the second round.
Lee Yong-Dae and Jung Jae-sung didn't start off the year so well with a loss in their home game at the 2012 Victor Open in Korea losing to Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng in three sets, 18–21 21–17 21–19. In German Open, the Lee and Jung reached the final but lost to unseeded Chinese pair, Hong Wei and Shen Ye.
However, they managed to win against Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng again in March to win their second All England title with a 21–23, 21–9, and 21–14 victory.
After the Malaysian Open, the pair failed to perform losing 21-14, 21-14 to Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan of China in the Quarter Finals of the German Open. A week later, the pair lost again in Round 1 of the All-England Open 2013 to unseeded German Pair Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schoettler 23-21, 21-18. At the India Open in April, the pair lost in the Finals to Xiaolong Liu and Zihan Qiu of China 22-20, 21-18.
After a one-year partnership, Lee Yong Dae and Ko Sung Hyun splitted and Lee paired with current world #8 and Ko’s former partner Yoo Yeon-Seong. This partnership won two consecutive tournaments 2013 Denmark Super Series Premier & Victor China Open.
In January, Lee Yong-Dae and Kim Ki Jung were banned for a year by the BWF from playing any international tournament due to their absence during a drug test. However, after further investigation, the ban was lifted several months later due to lack of evidence and claims that their absence was due to a misunderstanding with the Badminton Association of Korea.
Lee immediately returned to the badminton scene in May by contributing to the national squad at the 2014 Thomas Cup. South Korea came in second to Malaysia in the group stage but eventually lost 2-3 to Indonesia in the Quarter-finals.
In June, He and his partner, Yoo Yeon-Seong consecutively won 3 super-series titles in 3 weeks which were the Japan Open, Indonesian Open and Australian Open. This made the pair go up two spots in the world rankings from No. 4 to No. 2. They are currently ranking No. 1 in the world.
Lee Yong Dae had a bright year in 2015 despite a slow start to the year. He won Australia, Japan, Korea, Denmark, France and Hong Kong together with partner Yoo Yeon Seong, and are to be top seeds for the Dubai Superseries finals.
After winning the Olympic gold medal, Lee became so popular that people in Korea recognized him wherever he went. At first, he felt difficult to move around, but he eventually got used to it and enjoyed the attention.