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Kim Hyok Bong and Ryu Seung Min Win Peace and Sport Men’s Doubles Cup
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor


All smiles from Kim Hyok Bong (left) and Ryu Seung Min (right)  Photo By: Ahmed Taha Nada

11/22/2011        2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup (Click here to access this section)

Represented by Ryu Seung Min and Kim Hyok Bong, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea joined forces to win the Men’s Doubles title at the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup in Doha on the evening of Tuesday 22nd November 2011.

They accounted for the partnership of China’s Chen Qi and Qatar’s Ahmad Al-Mohannadi (11-8, 11-4, 11-9) at the semi-final stage, before overcoming the combination formed by Fan Yiyong of the United States and Russia’s Grigory Vlasov in the final (11-9, 11-3, 11-4).

The appearance of Fan Yiyong and Grigory Vlassov in the final was somewhat of a surprise.

Upset Seeding
At the semi-final stage they ended the hopes of France’s Adrien Mattenet and Japan’s Kaii Yoshida, the no.2 seeds (14-12, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5), having at the quarter-final stage beaten India’s Soumyajit Roy who partnered Pakistan’s Syed Awais Hassan (11-5, 11-6, 12-10).

Seeking More Opportunities
“I am very happy to win this event; especially with my partner from North Korea”, said Ryu Seung Min. “I hope there will be more chances to play together and win.”

Break Barriers
It was a comment echoed by Yang Ho Cho, the Chairman of the Korean Table Tennis Association and also both Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Korean Air; the company who sponsored the event.

“I strongly believe that sport can break barriers and that is the main reason to sponsor this event”, he said.

Understand Message of Peace
Positive words from Ryu Seung Min and Yang Ho Cho and also there was a positive response from the runners up.

“It is important for the youth to understand this message of peace”, said Fan Yiyong, who had clearly formed a very strong understanding with Grigory Vlasov.

A Pleasure
“I felt very comfortable to play with my colleague from the United States”, said the 27 year old Russian. "It was really a great pleasure.”

A Great Honour
A pleasure for Grigory Vlasov and for Mike Cavanaugh, the President of the United States Table Tennis Association, who was delighted to have been involved.

“We are working in the United States Table Tennis Association to keep the memories of the Ping Pong Diplomacy alive”, he said. “It is a great honour to be part of the second version.”

The Culmination
A great honour and for Glenn Tepper, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the International Table Tennis Federation and Executive Director of Development Programme it was successful conclusion to a bold initiative.

“It is the culmination of what we have been doing with Peace and Sport, we have organised programmes in Colombia and East Timor”, he said. “We will start a new one in the border of Burundi and Congo Democratic and I hope this Peace and Sport Cup has a big impact and in the future it becomes bigger and better.”

Sound Foundations Laid
Bigger and better, quite possibly; most certainly in Qatar a fine start was made.

The seeds have been sown, now the oak tree can grow.




Grigory Vlasov (foreground) serves as Fan Yiyong (background) waits in anticipation

Photo by Ahmed Taha Nada

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