Korean table tennis is ahead of major international competitions such as the World Championships in Durban, South Africa in May this year, the PyeongChang Asian Championships in September, and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. At the World Championships in Durban, six male and female athletes who competed in regional preliminaries earlier this year will participate, and at the PyeongChang Asian Championships and Hangzhou Asian Games, five male and female athletes who went through the national team selection earlier this month will participate.
Most of the participants in the Hangzhou Asian Games did not make it to the national team list in last year’s dispatch selection, but won the right to participate in the dispatch selection, which was held again after the tournament was postponed for one year due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection (Corona 19) in China.
Last year’s Hangzhou Asian Games starting list was Jang Woo-jin (28, Armed Forces Sports Corps) in the men’s division, Cho Dae-seong (21, Samsung Life Insurance), Ahn Jae-hyun (24), Hwang Min-ha (24, Korea Exchange), Cho Seung-min (25, Samsung Life Insurance) and Jeon Ji-hee (women’s). They were: 31, Mirae Asset Securities), Kim Na-young (18, Posco International), Lee Si-on (27, Samsung Life Insurance), Yoon Hyo-bin (25, Mirae Asset Securities), and Kim Ha-young (25, Korean Air). However, as a result of this year’s dispatch selection, Jang Woo-jin, Lim Jong-hoon (26, Korea Table Tennis Association), Ahn Jae-hyun, Oh Jun-seong (17, Mirae Asset Securities), Park Kang-hyeon (27, Korea Water Resources Corporation) in the men’s division, Shin Yu-bin (19, Korean Air), Jeon Ji-hee, and Lee Eun-hye in the women’s division. (28, Korean Air), Yang Ha-eun (29, Posco International), and Seo Hyo-won (36, Korea Horse Association).
Among them, Lim Jong-hoon in the men’s division, whose contract with the original team, KGC Ginseng Corporation expired last month, went through twists and turns to participate in the dispatch selection as a member of the association. He was virtually independent, so he had to solve the game preparation, movement, and lodging issues himself, but he vomited his spirit to come in second place (8 wins, 3 losses, 19 points) in the dispatch selection. The national team is in a hopeful mood as they can operate men’s doubles Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon (world ranking 3rd) and mixed doubles Lim Jong-hoon-Shin Yu-bin (11th), who have won medals on the international stage.안전놀이터
‘Oh Sang-eun Junior’ Oh Joon-seong also drew attention by winning a ticket to Pyeongchang-Hangzhou with 4th place (6 wins, 1 loss, 13 points) in the dispatch selection. At the time of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, Korea Exchange coach Yoo Nam-gyu (55) set the record for the youngest Korean men’s table tennis player to participate in the Asian Games at the age of 18, and Oh Joon-seong is expected to break this record this year.
Women’s veterans Yang Ha-eun and Seo Hyo-won also challenge the Asian Games again. The two veterans, who had a hard time in last year’s dispatch selection, showed off their dignity in this selection, ranking 4th and 5th (4 wins, 2 losses, 10 points), respectively. Yang Ha-eun showed off her strength by playing an MVP (best player) level performance in the Korean Professional Table Tennis League (KTTL) for two consecutive seasons, and Seo Hyo-won also played the role of a hidden card in the international game as a ‘defensive player’. The experiences of the two veterans, who won the bronze medal in the women’s team event at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, are expected to be of great help to the national team.
Korean table tennis has been cut off from the Asian Games since the gold medals of Lee Chul-seung and Yoo Seung-min in men’s doubles and Seok Eun-mi and Lee Eun-sil in women’s doubles at the 2002 Busan Asian Games. We have to cross the Great Wall again this year, but we challenge to recreate the glory of the past with the confidence of the young guns who first wore the Taegeuk mark and the earnestness of the veterans who seized another chance.