KUALAS LUMPUR (15 MAY 2010) – Park Joo Bong has taken Japanese badminton to new heights and the Japan Badminton Association (JBA) wants the South Korean to stay on and extend his present contract, which ends in March next year, until the 2012 London Olympics.

“I have not decided on that (request) yet,” said Joo Bong, who is the most successful player in the world championships with five titles – two in the men’s doubles and three in the mixed doubles.

Joo Bong, who is currently in Kuala Lumpur with the Japanese teams in the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Finals, has been instrumental in Japan’s rise in the badminton world.

Japan reached their first ever Thomas Cup semi-finals before bowing out to 13-times champions Indonesia 3-1 with a fighting display.

And young Kenichi Tago, 21, is one of Joo ong’s products. Tago created a shockwave when he reached the All England final in March this year but lost out to Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in the final 21-19, 21-19.

“I may stay on or may not. My present contract will only end in March next year. I am happy coaching the Japanese teams and have no grouses,” said Joo Bong, who won the men’s doubles gold with Kim Moon-soo in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic – beating Indonesia’s Eddy Hartono-Rudy Gunawan 15-11, 15-7 in the final.

He won the silver in the Atlanta Olympics with Ra Hyung-min when they were beaten in the mixed doubles final by compatriots Kim Dong-moon-Gil Young-ah 13-15, 15-4, 15-2.

In the World Championships, Joo Boong won the men’s doubles and mixed doubles gold in Calgary, Canada in 1985, the mixed doubles gold in Jakarta (1989) and the men’s and mixed doubles gold in Copenhagen (1991).

Joo Bong was also a double gold medallist in the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul where he won the men’s and mixed doubles gold. He also completed a double by taking the men’s and mixed doubles gold in the 1991 Asian Championships.

In the prestigious All England Championships won nine titles in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Joo Bong and Moon-soo won the men’s doubles title in 1985 and 1986, with Lee Sang Bok in 1989. He renewed his partnership with Moon-soo to take the title in 1990.

He won five All England mixed doubles titles with Chung Myung Hee in 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991 and with Ra Kyung-Min in 1996.

“We have made inroads in badminton but we are still lacking behind the top four badminton countries in the world - China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Denmark. However we are slowly catching up on them,” said Joo Bong.

“We achieved our target of reaching the semifinals in both the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup. It is a big achievement for Japanese badminton. I am proud of my players for their fighting display against the favourites.

“Our target is the Olympics where I believe that we will be a lot stronger. As I said, I am very happy that Japan gave the strong teams a good fight,” added Joo Bong, who once coached in Malaysia.- Media247

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