Kim Kyungah technically correct and mentally supreme
Photo By: Remy Gros
2012 Olympic Games
Determination, reveling in the heat of the battle, responding to the challenge, absorbing the pressure; arguably those ingredients are more important on the big stage than unadulterated talent.
Players in whatever sport, who possess those qualities tend to be the more consistent performers; those who have been gifted more than their fair share of talent can produce the ridiculous, but more often than not on one day they dazzle, on a second they disappoint.
One player who has no small measure of talent but when it comes to mental toughness has that facet in abundance is Kim Kyungah.
Place your trust in the superb skills of the Korean backspin artiste.
Lead Korean Team
At the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games she will lead the Korean Womenís Team, lining up alongside Seok Hajung and Park Miyoung; whilst in the Womenís Singles event, she will be the third seed behind the Chinese duo of Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia.
In the Womenís Team event, Korea occupies the fourth seeded place. China, Japan and Singapore are the top three seeds.
Player for a Crisis
You need a player for a crisis, send Kim Kyungah into the gladiatorial arena; send her to face the roaring lions and she will not flinch against the challenge.
She is the modern day Richard Bergmann; the player whose sheer tenacity, his will-to-win saw his defensive skills prevail, as he won the Menís Singles title at the World Championships on four occasions between 1937 in Baden and 1948 in London.
One wonders without the interruption of the Second World War would it have been more? He won in Cairo in 1939 but then there was a break of seven years until the tournament returned in 1947 in Paris.
Different eras but Kim Kyungah is of the same disposition in the table tennis arena as Richard Bergmann; immense reservoirs of willpower and determination.
Watch her when itís the deciding game and itís close.
Make sure you have something on which you can rely when itís a vital stage of a contest is good advice; when itís close Kim Kyungah follows that principle.
She defends for her life, she rarely if ever attacks. If an adversary is to beat Kim Kyungah, when itís close, that protagonist is going to have to work mightily hard.
One single momentary lapse of concentration or a split second of rashness and Kim Kyungah has snared the adversary into her net.
It is that defensive wall, as opposed to her ability to play of controlled forehand drive that makes her the Expedite expert.
If that rule has to be introduced you can put your house on Kim Kyungah!
Best Year of Career
Furthermore, Kim Kyungah is currently enjoying one of her best ever years of table tennis life; a career that was ignited in 1994 when she was a semi-finalist in the Junior Girlsí Singles event at the Asian Youth Championships staged in the Japanese city of Joetsu Niigata.
Now, almost two decades later, the name of Kim Kyungah appears at the top of the Womenís Singles Standings on the ITTF Pro Tour.
In 2012, she has been the model of consistency as befits the way she plays and her mental toughness.
She has made seven appearances on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, on five occasions she has reached the Womenís Singles final, winning three times and on the two occasions that has not progressed to the concluding round, she has lost to most creditable opponents.
Qatar and China
In Qatar, on her first appearance of the year in February, she was beaten at the quarter-final stage by Hong Kongís Tie Yana; later in the year in May, in Shanghai, at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour China Open she lost to the host nationís Ding Ning in the third round.
Otherwise, she has always reached the final; noticeably after her defeat at the hands of Tie Yana in Qatar, she reversed the decision when they met in the penultimate round one week later in Kuwait before losing to Chinaís Feng Yalan in the final.
Bodes Well for London
Second place in Kuwait, it was the same in Japan in June when beaten in the final by Shen Yanfei but in Spain, Chile and Brazil it was gold.
Titles and good news for the forthcoming Olympic Games; in Spain, she beat teenage compatriot Yang Ha Eun in the final but in Chile and Brazil the victims were from Singapore, both potential adversaries in London. In the former she secured the title at the expense of Li Jiawei, in the latter in opposition to Feng Tianwei.
The owner of two Olympic Games bronze medals Ė third place in the Womenís Singles in Athens and the same in the Womenís Team event in Beijing Ė Kim Kyungah may well add to her collection in London.
However, to succeed she will have to defy the history of age; Kim Kyungah is now 35 years old and only two women have ever won an Olympic medal in their thirties.
Chen Jing was 32 years old when she won bronze in the Womenís Singles event in Sydney in 2000; the other was 31 years old when she won bronze in the Womenís Team competition in Beijing, a certain Kim Kyungah.
Both medals were gained as a result of her textbook defensive skills but above all owing to her mental fortitude.
When the going gets tough, Kim Kyungah gets going.