Kim Dong Moon was born in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do, Korea, on September 22, 1975. Numbering as the sixth child in the family, he had 3 older brothers and 2 older sisters. During his childhood, he attended the Jinbuk Elementary School. His school offered three different sports – volleyball, baseball and badminton but Dong Moon chose to play the latter. His choice would have momentous impact on Korea and the sport of badminton in the days to come.
Forty students came together in the Jinbuk school auditorium to learn how to play badminton as a hobby. Im Chae Kyung, the teacher in charge, did a fitness test to select 4 players to form a team. Dong Moon and his friend, Ha Tae Kwon, tried out but did not make the team. Two other guys, Lee Duk Joon and Hwang Sun Ho were selected. These two players would later become Kim’s Men’s Doubles partner in high school and Ha’s Men’s Doubles partner respectively. Six months later, Kim was added to the team and then he recommended Ha. When Ha finally entered the team in 1984, all 4 of the boys were in their 3rd year of middle school. Coincidentally, Dong Moon attended the same middle school as the other Korean greats, Park Joo Bong, Jung Jae Sung, Yoo Yong Sung and Lee Duk Joon who was in the same grade.
In 1992, Kim became the champion of the AsianStudent Badminton Championships in Men’s Doubles with his school teammate, Hwang Sun Ho. He also placed second in Mixed Doubles at the World Junior Championships with Kim Shin Young in Mixed Doubles and reached the semi-finals in Men’s Doubles with Hwang. In that same year, Ha and Kim joined the national team.
The 2 boys were in their 2nd year of high school. Ha and Kim as a pair had a brief hiatus in national titles after winning regularly in their late elementary school and middle school years. They would continue to play together and would not win an international senior medal together until years later at the 1997 US Open.
At the 1992 Korean National Championships, Kim reached the semi-final of the Men’s Doubles and the final of the Mixed Doubles. Kim would become the national champion in Mixed Doubles in 1997 and continue to hold the Mixed Doubles national title in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. Kim’s first Men’s Doubles national title would come in 1996 and he would also continue to hold the title in 1997, 1998, and 2001. This meant that in the years of 1998 and 2001, Kim would hold national titles for both events.
On the international scene, his first medal in the Open category was a bronze at the 1994 Korea Open in Men’s Doubles with Choi Ji Tae. Kim had to wait another year until the 1995 Malaysia Open with Gil Young Ah in Mixed Doubles to win his first international Open title.
By the age of 19 years old, Kim already started to appear on the podium of major events such as the 1995 World Championships where he won a bronze medal in Men’s Doubles with partner, Yoo Yong Sung. The young Dong Moon who had just started to win in international competition qualified to represent South Korea at the Olympics as well and went to Atlanta for the 1996 Games with no expectations. To everyone’s surprise, the pupil surpassed the master as Dong Moon and his Mixed Doubles partner, Gil Young Ah, defeated Park and Kim’s wife–to–be, Ra Kyung Min, 13–15, 15–4, 15–12 in the final to take the Olympic gold medal.
After the Olympics, Kim and Ra embarked on an exceptional path to success as a new Mixed Doubles pair.Their first title together came as soon as March 1998 when they sailed to the highest step of the podium at the prestigious All England Championships. Later that December, they would once again be the sole surviving South Korean team at the Asian Games in Bangkok after defeating co-patriots, Lee Dong Soo and Yim Kyung Jin in the final.
At that time, Kim had already proved himself to be a world-class player but the best was yet to come. At the 1999 World Championships in Copenhagen, he demonstrated his amazing game play when he doubled crowned in Men’s Doubles title with Ha and in Mixed Doubles with Ra. The double–threat Kim would do the same thing at the 2000 All England.
At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Kim and Ha would oust reigning champions, Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Soebagdja, at the quarter final stage but fall in the semi-finals to other Indonesian pair, Tony Gunawan and Candra Wijaya, who would go on to take the Olympic gold medal. After losing the Men’s Doubles semi-final, Kim was overwhelmed with emotion when he and Ha won their bronze Medal match against Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah of Malaysia.
2001 was not Kim’s best year. His best result would be his 2 silver medals at the World Championships held in Seville, Spain. The Korean pair of Kim and Ra came very close to another world title but lost 10–15, 15–12, 16–17 to their long–time rivals, Zhang Jun and Gao Ling of China. The latter pair won only 3 times in 13 clashes against Kim and Ra but did so twice at two crucial moments, namely the 2000 Olympic Games and the 2001 World Championships. In the Men’s Doubles final of the 2001 World Championships, Kim also faltered and showed that he could be subject to nerves as well. Kim and Ha lost 0–15, 13–15 to Tony Gunawan and Halim Haryanto Ho.
Kim’s silver medals at the 2001 World Championships were only two small bumps on his road to greatness. At the 2002 All England, Kim and Ha rolled over Jens Eriksen and Mette Schjoldager 7–3, 7–3, 7–0 in the Mixed Doubles final to cinch the gold. Kim had a similar win in Men’s Doubles over Eng Hian and Flandy Limpele who were representing England at that time.
The year of 2003 would be a near perfect year for Kim and Ra in Mixed Doubles as they did not lose a match from April to November with 10 straight victorious tournaments - 9 consecutive Grand Prix events and one World Championship title. His excellent results in 2003 earned Kim the Eddie Choong Player of the Year award a second time in tandem with Ra. The first time Kim earned this award was in 2001 for his individual results.
With such a successful year leading to the 2004 Olympics, Kim and Ra were the favourites for the Olympic gold medal but to everyone’s amazement, Kim and Ra went down in the quarter-finals. They lost to Jonas Rasmussen and Rikke Olsen with the scores of 14-17 8-15. Luckily for Kim, the Olympic gold medal dream was not over yet as Ha and Kim defeated their fellow countrymen, Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yong Sung. After losing his Mixed Doubles prematurely, Kim was very emotional when received his gold medal on the podium.
Kim had initially planned to retire after the Olympics but he agreed to make a quick comeback to help South Korea at the 2005 Sudirman Cup. Unfortunately, Korea’s push for gold ended at the semi-final stage.
In 2005, Kim married in his former Mixed Doubles partner, Ra. In July 2007, they had a son named Han Wool.
After his playing career, Kim briefly worked as a coach for the Korean national team. After working with the team for about 9 months, he then dropped everything to move to Vancouver in January 2006. Sponsored by the Korea Sports Council, he spent 6 months in Vancouver to study English overseas, but the high population of Koreans in the city affected his learning of the language. Kim then decided to move to Calgary where he became a highly paid coach at the Calgary Winter Club. He spent 5 and a half years coaching in Canada. During this time, he trained Canadian players, Toby Ng and Grace Gao. Under his guidance, the pair won many international titles and qualified for the 2012 Olympics.
Kim moved back to Korea and in early 2012, he realized his dream by becoming a professor in Exercise Physiology at the Wonkwang University in Iksan. Kim can also be regularly heard as a badminton commentator on Korean television.
In 2009, Kim was inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame.
2002 – Eddie Choong Player of the Year
2003 – Eddie Choong Player of the Year (with partner Ra Kyung Min)
2009 – BWF Hall of Fame
BIBLIOGRAPHY & REFERENCES
Badminton Handbook (Bernd-Volker Brahms)
International Badminton – the first 75 years
World Badminton (Magazine)
배드민턴은나의인생(Badminton is my Life), Song Su Nam
-- By Yves Lacroix