Lee Hyun iI is a South Korean male Badminton player. He took birth in Seoul, the capital of South Korea on 17th April 1980. The former World Rank 1, 34-year-old has been a part of the national team year since he was 15 years old.
Background and Early Career:
Lee Hyun iI showed early promise in the Korean Domestic Circuit and got drafted in the Korean national team for the 2002 Asian games. He mesmerized everyone with his performance winning all his matches throughout the tournament. He came out as a star player for the Korean team and played a major role is Korean titular triumph after 18 years. However, Asian games were just the start for Lee. He also helped Korean team bag the Sudirman Cup next year in 2003.
Lee played his first Olympics in 2004, Athens. It was his first Olympics where he was being considered a dark horse. Though, his second round elimination was probably his first major setback in a glorious career.
Rise to Glory:
The Korean National team had numerous A-rated doubles player but always lacked in the singles department. When Lee won the Swiss Open in 2003, Team Korea finally found their flag bearer in the Single's department.
Lee Hyun first proved his mettle on the International Level when he won the US Open title in 2001. Japan open was the next to be conquered in the subsequent year. However, World first took notice of him in the 2002 Asian Games. He performed magnificently and lost only in the finals in a closely fought encounter with Taufik Hidayat.
He soon climbed on the bandwagon of success and won numerous tournaments. Lee Hyun triumphed in six tournaments including the reputed Indonesia Open, German Open and Korean Open. Other than claiming first spot in these tournaments he also missed the title by a whisker finishing second in 2006, in highly respected All England Open.
The peak point of his career, however, came in 2006. He performed brilliantly in the IBF World Championship held in Madrid, Spain. He looked invincible till the Semi-Finals where he tasted a shocking defeat from his Chinese counterpart Bao Chunlai. He also added an Asian Games bronze medal to his kitty in the same year.
Lee Hyun participated in Beijing Olympics with high hopes and performed considerably well in the initial rounds. However, consecutive losses to Lee Chong Wei and Chen Jin in the semi-finals and third place playoff game could only fetch him the fourth place. Subsequently, he announced his retirement after the Olympics and decided to play only in domestic games.
After his retirement in 2008, Team Korea missed their premier player and were having difficulties in filling the void left by his departure. So, After much persuasion from the coach and officials, he came out of retirement in 2010.
Even after a gap of two years in his international career, his performance did not have any effect. He returned to win Macau Open in 2011 and stood third in the prestigious All England Open in 2012.
Present Form and Future Ambitions:
Lee Hyun II is in excellent form at the moment having cliched the Macau Open recently in 2018. He also finished as runner-up in 2017, Denmark Open losing to India's K Srikanth in the finals.
Lee has often stated in his previous interviews that his ultimate sporting ambition is winning an Olympic Medal. He came close twice in 2008 and 2012 but could gather just a fourth-place finish at both the instances. With the kind of current form he is in, his ultimate ambition might be just two years away.