Korea win first-ever men's doubles silver at table tennis championships
Jang Woo-jin and Im Jong-hoon won Korea's first-ever men's doubles silver medal at the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals at George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, on Monday.
Jang and Im missed out on the gold medal, losing the men's doubles final match 3-1 to Sweden's Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Falck. The Swedish pair had won against China in the quarterfinals and the semifinals to reach the final stage, taking the only gold medal that China missed out on at the Championships. China won gold at the men’s and women’s singles, the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles.
Jang and Im put up a good fight against the strong Swedish team but conceded the first two sets 11-8 and 15-13. Korea were able to take a win in the third set after a deuce. The fourth set went to a 10-10 tie and Korea were unable to add any more points while Sweden added two more to take the win.
En route to the finals, Jang and Lim swept through the round of 32 and round of 16, winning in three straight sets against Ricardo Villa and Marcos Madrid of Mexico in their first round and again against Chien-An Chen and Chih-Yuan Chuang of Taiwan in the second round. Korea won 3-1 against Kwan Kit Ho and Chun Ting Wong of Hong Kong in the quarterfinals then won against Japanese duo Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda 3-1 on Sunday.
The finals match on Monday was the first time in Korea’s 65-year history of competing at the World Table Tennis Championships that Korea reached the men’s doubles finals. Korea has won eight bronze medals since the 1987 World Championships in New Delhi when Ahn Jae-hyung and Yoo Nam-kyu won the men’s doubles bronze.
Now the weeklong World Table Tennis Championships are finished and Korea go home with just one silver medal after other Korean athletes missed out on the podium.
Suh Hyo-won missed out on a medal on Saturday, losing the quarterfinals in straight sets against Yingsha Sun of China. This is Suh's best result at the World Table Tennis Championships as she has only reached the round of 16 twice in 2013 and 2019. It is also the first time in 12 years that a Korean player has reached the singles' quarterfinals.
Alongside Suh in the women's singles, Shin Yu-bin beat 2020 Tokyo team bronze medalist Wai Yam Minnie Soo from Hong Kong in four straight sets in the first round on Nov. 23 but dropped out in the next round losing 4-3 to Sarah De Nutte of Luxembourg.
Shin and Jeon Ji-hee lost to Natalia Malinina and Elizabet Abraamian of Russia in the women's doubles round of 32 while Choi Hyo-joo and Lee Zion advanced to the quarterfinals but lost their quarterfinal match against Chinese duo Tianyi Quian and Meng Chen. Shin and Cho Dae-seong were defeated in their mixed doubles match by Bernadette Szocs and Ovidiu Ionescu of Romania in the round of 32 as were Jang and Jeon against Chien-An Chen and Szu-Yu Chen of Taiwan.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]