Asian Games table tennis team returns home with a win and a newfound love for the sport
After exceeding expectations at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, the Korean National Table Tennis Team returned home via Incheon International Airport on Wednesday evening. The men’s team captain Jang Woo-jin and Park Kang-hyun (Korea Water Resources Corporation), who played a key role in the team event, along with the men’s and women’s coaching staff and officials, made improvements. While many of the players had delayed their return due to the WTT Contender Series in China, Oman and Turkuye, the excitement of the first group of players back home was also a good reminder of their great performance in Hangzhou.
Held from September 24 to October 2 at the Hangzhou Archer Canal Sports Park Gymnasium (GSP Gymnazium), Team Korea won eight medals at the Asian Games, including gold in the women’s doubles (Jeon Jeon-hee and Shin Yubin), silver in the men’s team event, silver in the men’s doubles (Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon), bronze in the men’s singles (Jang Woo-jin), bronze in the women’s singles (Shin Yubin), and bronze in the mixed doubles (Jang Woo-jin and Jeon Jeon-hee, Lim Jong-hoon and Shin Yubin). The Korean table tennis team had a great performance at the Asian Games, winning valuable medals in all the table tennis events.
At the brief dismissal ceremony, Lim Young-kyu (Vice President of the Korean Table Tennis Association), who gave the athletes a great boost with his passionate support throughout the tournament, said, “I would like to praise the athletes for fighting to the best of their abilities and achieving good results in this tournament. I am very grateful for their hard work. I hope we can carry this good momentum to the Busan World Championships and the Paris Olympics next year.”
Men’s National Team Head Coach Joo Se-hyuk said, “I could feel a great sense of joy thanks to my athletes. I was touched by the fans and officials who wanted our players to do well, and that’s why I felt once again that I shouldn’t take my role as a coach lightly. I think this tournament was the result of a lot of communication and cooperation between the Korea Table Tennis Association and the leaders of the unemployment teams, which gave the players enough motivation. I believe that the good results will have a positive impact on the unity of the table tennis world,” he said after the tournament.
“First of all, I would like to praise our players for winning medals in all disciplines, and it is great that Shin Yubin, who is competing in her first Asian Games, has won medals in all disciplines,” said Oh Kwang-heon, head coach of the women’s team. In fact, in doubles, we didn’t think it would be easy to win the gold medal at the beginning, but we overcame some difficult opponents in the early stages to move up. With this memory as a foundation, we will be an even stronger team at next year’s World Championships in Paris.”
Men’s team captain Jang Woo-jin made a strong presence as the men’s table tennis ace at the tournament. He led the team to a silver medal, 먹튀검증 won silver in doubles with Lim Jong-hoon, bronze in mixed doubles with Jeon Jeon-hee, and reached the quarterfinals of the singles competition, where he battled evenly with top-ranked Fan Zhen-dong (China) to take home bronze. It was a revolutionary contribution to the team’s medal haul.
Zhang said, “The players felt serious after not meeting expectations at the previous Asian Championships in Pyeongchang, so we took this Asian Games even more seriously. I’m happy and satisfied with the results. But it’s not 100 points for the men. I think it’s great that the women made history with a gold medal after 21 years, but it’s a shame that it didn’t come from the men,” he laughed. “Anyway, the gold medal has raised the bar for table tennis. I’m sure the players will take it as a good boost of confidence. The race for next year’s Paris Olympics is just around the corner, and I hope we can use it as a good energy to compete in good faith.”
The men’s team event was an unconventional format, giving many athletes a chance to shine. Internal causes and reasons aside, it was also a rewarding experience to see the potential of the pillars of Korean men’s table tennis. In particular, Park Kang-hyun, who has been a consistent starter in the team event tournament, stood out as he played his part in the quarterfinals against India, the quarterfinals against Iran, and the final against China. His “power impact” helped the Korean men’s team win their eighth consecutive silver medal.
“The doubles didn’t meet my expectations, but I’m happy with the result because I was able to show my skills as much as I wanted in the team event. In fact, in my first Asian Games, I was able to play more matches than I expected, and I think the fact that I didn’t neglect my preparation with the idea that I could go out at any time helped me to play well. It was also the first time I played as a starter in a national team event, and we won a silver medal. It was a really cool and exciting experience. Next year’s World Table Tennis Championships in Busan will also be a team event. I want to continue to challenge myself and I will do so.”
The achievements of the Korean table tennis team at the Asian Games go beyond the medal count. The team’s enjoyment of the game, despite the pressure to perform, has raised the sport’s profile among many sports fans, and their heartwarming display of mutual support during the mixed doubles award ceremony has gone viral around the world. The increased visibility of the sport is expected to provide a very positive momentum for the team on the road to the Busan World Table Tennis Championships and the Paris Olympics next year. For those athletes who are not able to return home immediately and will be traveling for longer periods of time, we hope that the memories of Hangzhou will serve as a cure for their fatigue.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)’s governing body, the WTT, held the WTT Contender Lanzhou 2023 in Lanzhou, Gansu, China, on February 2. Korea is represented by Lee Sang-soo, Cho Seung-min (Samsung Life Insurance), Lim Jong-hoon, Ahn Jae-hyun (Korea Exchange) and Oh Jun-sung (Mirae Asset Securities) in the men’s competition, and Seo Hyo-won, Choi Hyo-joo (Korea Horse Racing Association), Jeon Ji-hee (Mirae Asset Securities), Yang Ha-eun, Kim Na-young (POSCO International), Lee Eun-hye and Shin Yubin (Korean Air) in the women’s competition. After the eight-day event, the players will travel to Oman for the WTT Contender Muscat until the 14th and then to Turkkiye for the WTT Contender Antalya until the 22nd before returning home.