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Park Gang-hyeon emerges as new table tennis champ

Park Gang-hyeon won the men’s single title at the 69th National Table Tennis Championship on Sunday to beat Korea’s top-ranked player, Jung Young-sik.

At the Nation Sports Center in Danyang, North Chungcheong, the 19-year-old Park blanked Jung 4-0 (11-8, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7) to claim his first singles title in the nation’s top table tennis event. Park, who last year joined the Samsung Life Insurance table tennis team, reached the final by beating world No. 15 Joo Sae-hyuk in the semis.

It was a surprising victory for Park, whose world rank stands at 245, while Jung is Korea’s top male player, ranked No. 13 in the world, and has already secured his ticket to the 2016 Summer Games.

However, Jung claimed the men’s double with Jang Woo-jin.

The women’s singles title went to Jeon Ji-hee, who edged 2012 champion Moon Hyun-jung 4-1 (5-11, 11-9, 16-14 11-8, 11-7). Jeon, ranked No. 13 in the world, was just coming off from her semifinals finish last week at the ITTF World Tour Grand Final in Lisbon, Portugal.

However, she finished as the runner-up in women’s doubles along with Yoo Eun-chong after a defeat by Jung Yu-mi and Choi Hyo-joo.

Kim Dong-hyun and Ji Eun-chae won the title in mixed doubles.

The women’s team event went to the Korean Air table tennis team, who beat KDB Daewoo Securities 3-0. KDB Daewoo Securities beat the S-Oil table tennis team, however, to claim the men’s event.

This was S-Oil’s last event since the company decided to disband its table tennis team.


Samsung Lions take on
two former MLB pitchers

The Samsung Lions said on Saturday that they have signed two American pitchers for next season.

The Lions, which lost to the Doosan Bears in the Korean Series this year, said that they have completed a deal with Allen Webster for a one-year contract worth $850,000 and also inked a $500,000 deal with Collin Balester.

Webster, 25, is a right-handed pitcher who previously played with the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks. He went 7-6 with a 6.13 ERA in 28 games in Major League Baseball. In the minors, he amassed 50-39 with a 3.86 ERA in 167 games.

Balester, 29, is also a right-hander who made his big league debut with the Washington Nationals in 2008. The 1.96-meter (6-foot-5) pitcher went 8-17 with a 5.47 ERA in 88 games in the MLB. He had a 43-50 record with 14 saves and a 4.28 ERA in the minors.

The Lions said goodbye to their foreign pitchers, Alfredo Figaro and Tyler Cloyd. The Daegu-based club is still negotiating to re-sign second baseman Yamaico Navarro.

By Joo Kyung-don

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