Korean duo take first at the table tennis tour

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Korean duo take first at the table tennis tour


Jung Young-sik(L), Lee Sang-soo (R)

On Monday, “Our Youngsik” brushed away the memories of the Rio Olympics at the international table tennis clash of kings.

Lee Sang-soo, 26 and Jung Young-sik, 24 climbed to the top after a 4-2 comeback victory in the International Table Tennis Federation’s World Tour Grand Finals Men’s double in Dohar, Qatar, against Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima.

The athletes that were the best-rated throughout the season competed in this competition, and the men’s pair of Lee and Jung snatched a South Korean victory for the third time, following that of Kim Taek-soo and Oh Jang-eun in 2001 and Cho Eon-rae and Seo Hyeon-duk in 2014.

At the Rio Olympics, Jung made a lasting impression while grappling with Chinese athletes such as Ma Long, 28, who is ranked first in men’s individual and team table tennis, and 2012 London Olympics two-time gold medalist Zhang Jike.

Jung has a delicate frame, but in front of a table, he becomes so frenetic that fans liken him to an animated character, nicknaming him “Our Young-sik.”

Jung is a workhorse who trains from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Having confirmed the importance of experience through the Rio Olympics, Jung entered the Chinese league in October.

Playing for Shanghai Zhongji and coached by former top player, Wang Liqin, 38, Jung often faces Chinese athletes. Four months after the Rio Olympics, Jung and Lee re-united.

Though the Chinese pair did not compete in the doubles, Jung and Lee defeated all the world’s top ten pairs. The Japanese pair of Morizono and Oshima was ranked first.

“It was disappointing not to take a medal at the Olympics, so I’m happy to get a gold medal this time,” Jung said. “Looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympics, I’ll get another one.”

BY KIM JI-HAN [enational@joongang.co.kr]
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