You can’t get drunk on three World Championships medals. A year ahead of the Paris Olympics, the shadows are deep.
Korean table tennis wrapped up the 2023 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Individual World Championships in Durban, South Africa, on Monday with two silver and one bronze medals.
Shin Yoo-bin (Korean Air) and Jeon Jeon-hee (Mirae Asset Securities) won the silver medal in the women’s doubles final on the 28th with a 0-3 (8-11 7-11 10-12) game score against China’s Wang Yidi and Chen Meng (ranked 7th), while Jang Woo-jin (Mirae Asset Securities) and Lim Jong-hoon (Korea Exchange) won the silver and Cho Dae-sung and Lim Sang-soo (Samsung Life Insurance) won the bronze in the men’s doubles.
It has been 20 years since Korea won more than three medals at the individual World Championships, with a silver in the men’s singles and one bronze each in the men’s and women’s doubles at the 2003 Paris Games.
With both the men’s and women’s singles finals yet to be played, China swept all five gold medals at the event. South Korea finished second with two silver and one bronze, followed by Japan with one silver and two bronze. Germany and Hong Kong each took home one bronze medal.
In the women’s doubles, Shin Yubin-Jeon Hee secured the silver medal with a 3-0 (11-7 11-9 11-6) victory over China’s world No. 1 team of Sun Yingxia-Wang Manyu in the semifinals, which was enough to recreate the emotions of 1988 Seoul Olympic gold medalists Yang Young-ja-Hyun Jung-hwa. In the men’s doubles, it was a commendable achievement for both pairs to finish in the podium.
However, it also shows that Korea is still a long way from winning an Olympic medal. Not only did Korea fail in the men’s and women’s singles 먹튀검증 events, but they also had a dismal performance in the mixed doubles event, which is the sport’s newest strategic event.
Table tennis has been an official sport since the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the men’s and women’s doubles were abolished in favor of a men’s and women’s team event. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, mixed doubles was added to the program, which now has five gold medals up for grabs, along with men’s and women’s singles.
While doubles is important because the team event consists of four singles and one doubles, it basically means that you have to be good at singles to win a medal at the Olympics. However, Korea still had to face the high barriers of the world, as none of the five men’s singles players made it to the quarterfinals.
Of the five women’s singles players, Shin Yubin and Seo Hyo-won made it to the round of 16, but their 0-4 record against Sun Yingxia (China) and Hayata Hina (Japan) showed that they still have a long way to go.
In the mixed doubles event, where Japan defeated China to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, she was unable to make it to the final four. This is a huge disappointment for the team as they were hoping for a medal in the mixed doubles event. As a result, the three individual events did not produce any World Championship podium finishers.
The men’s and women’s doubles medals are a welcome step forward for Korean table tennis as it marks the beginning of a rebound after a lost decade. However, the level of dedication and effort that countries put into non-Olympic events is somewhat different.
Also, given that countries that are good at singles can eventually smile at the Olympics or on the big international stage, the lack of success in men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles is something that the Korean table tennis community needs to reflect on one year and two months before the Paris Olympics.
“If we can improve our singles competitiveness, we can return to the Olympic medals as the first game of the team competition is our strong doubles,” said a table tennis official. “Mixed doubles will be played by one country at the Olympics, so if we can come up with a good combination based on the World Championships, we can challenge for the podium.”