By Henry Chen
Before, the South Korean Men’s Team was led by the powerhouse cast of JOO Saehyuk, RYU Seungmin and OH Sangeun. However, things have changed now and new names are leading the team.
The current world’s number 12 player, JEONG Youngsik is now the highest ranking player of the South Korean Men’s Team, and he is having his first ever appearance in the Olympic Singles in this year’s competition.
Although this 24-year old player still has no prior experience in a big competition like the Olympic Games, he is already brave enough to aim high, and that is to defeat MA Long.
A few hours ago, JEONG Youngsik got through the third round successfully after beating Liam PITCHFORD in five games. Almost at the same time, MA Long had his debut and imposed authority over Jonathan GROTH in four games to nil.
According to him, he hopes to imitate what his teammate JANG Woojin has done against ZHANG Jike in the Asian Championships, and beat MA Long in the grandest way possible.
JEONG Youngsik has dreamt of playing in the Olympic Games ever since he was a child. Aside from that, he hopes to be the second RYU Seungmin who unexpectedly beat the Chinese power Wang Hao for the Olympic gold in 2004.
“As long as it would be difficult for MA Long to play his 100% level, then I will use every hope I have to win.” JEONG Youngsik said.
While MA Long can be the “Superman of Table Tennis,” he is not totally indestructible. In fact, he also has a good share of moments where he got in contact with his kryptonite. In the 2012 Asian Olympic Qualifier, he lost to Koki NIWA of Japan. Also in the same year, MA Long also lost to LEE Sangsu of Korea in the Korean Open.
Now the question is would MA Long be able to prove his mental strength in the competition or JEONG Youngsik will have what it takes to stage an upset in the Olympic Games?
We would know the answer tomorrow, August 8.