Korean table tennis has made a splendid comeback at the World Championships with its best performance in 20 years.

The Korean National Table Tennis Team won two silver and one bronze medals at the 2023 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships, which concluded in Durban, South Africa, on Monday. In the women’s doubles final on Monday, the world No. 12 pair of Shin Yubin (18-Korean Air) and Jeon Jeon Hee (30-Mirae Asset Securities) lost 0-3 (8-11, 7-11, 10-12) to the No. 7 pair of Chen Meng and Wang Yidi (China) to claim the silver medal.

In the men’s doubles final, Jang Woo-jin (28, Mirae Asset Securities)-Lim Jong-hoon (26, Korea Exchange) lost 0-3 (11-13, 6-11, 5-11) to the world’s top-ranked pair of Fan Zhen-dong and Wang Chu-chin (both of China), who also won silver. The pair of Cho Dae-sung (21) and Lee Sang-soo (33-plus Samsung Life) added a bronze medal. It is the first time in 20 years that South Korean table tennis has won more than three medals at an individual world championship in men’s and women’s singles and doubles since the 2003 Paris Games (one silver, two bronze).

The biggest victory was the resurgence of women’s table tennis, which had been in the doldrums since the 2000s. Shin Yoo-bin “Piyak-yi” Shin and her sister Jeon Jeon-hee, the eldest member of the national team, have been in fantastic form throughout the tournament and have become the top-ranked women’s doubles team. Shin Yubin was touted as the next big thing in Korean table tennis after her performance at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, but her career was hampered by injuries. After withdrawing from the World Championships in November 2021 with a stress fracture in her wrist, she underwent surgery and rehabilitation. She returned early last year after undergoing surgery to put a pin in her wrist bone, but the pain returned and she underwent surgery to remove a piece of bone in September last year.

Graphic by Kyung-jin Kim capkim@joongang.co.kr
The performance of veteran Jeon Jeon-hee was also dazzling. While she has shown top-notch performances on the international stage, she has been unusually poor at major international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships. A bronze medal at the 2018 World Team Championships was her only previous podium finish, but this time she added a valuable silver. The highlight of the tournament was a 3-0 victory over the world No. 1 pair of Sun토토사이트 Yingxia and Wang Manyu (China) in the women’s doubles semifinals. It was the first time the pair had reached the final in 36 years since Yang Young-ja and Hyun Jung-hwa won gold in New Delhi, India, in 1987 and the first medal since Kim Kyung-ah and Park Mi-young (bronze) in 2011.

In an interview after the ceremony, Shin Yubin was unable to speak for a while and broke down in tears. “I’m grateful to my sister (Jeon Ji-hee) for being with me,” Shin said, “and I’m happy for the people who helped me get this far.” “It feels like a dream just to be in the final,” said Jeon Jeon-hee, adding, “Yoo Bin-yi is an ‘all-rounder’ that we haven’t seen before in our national team. She is creating a new path for Korean women’s table tennis.”

The men’s doubles team of Jang Woo-jin (left) and Lim Jong-hoon won their second consecutive silver medal at the World Championships. [Photo: Korea Table Tennis Association].
The men’s doubles pair of Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon proved their world-class credentials by winning back-to-back silver medals at the 2021 World Championships in Houston, USA. Lee Sang-soo and Cho Dae-sung also earned a bronze medal after defeating last year’s gold medalists Christian Karlsson and Matthias Falk of Sweden 3-1 in the quarterfinals.

The KTA has benchmarked archery’s success to improve its international competitiveness. In 2021, the long-standing practice of filling the national team with players recommended by the association will be eliminated, and the team will be based solely on tournament results and world rankings to promote healthy competition. Kim Taek-soo, Executive Vice President of the Korea Table Tennis Association, said, “We have seen international competitiveness in doubles for both men and women. Our next challenge is to improve our singles performance before the Paris Olympics.”

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