by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu meant it was the third time that in five appearances in the title deciding contest at a Grand Finals that a partnership representing the Korea Republic had secured the title.
In 2000 in Kobe, Kim Taeksoo and Oh Sangeun had been beaten in the final by China’s Wang Liqin and Yan Sen; one year later in Hainan, the duo climbed one step higher. They beat the Hong Kong partnership of Cheung Yuk and Leung Chu Yan to seal the title.
Two appearances in the gold medal contest for Oh Sangeun; in 2005 in Fuzhou he made a third and once again it was defeat; partnering Lee Jungwoo, the pairing suffered at the hands of Germany’s Timo Boll and Christian Süss.
“I am very happy to win the doubles title; today was the same as the Asian Championships, we lost the first two games buy eventually came back to beat them. In the first two games we made many mistakes and there weren’t any good long rallies”, Lee Sangsu
One win, two second places, in 2014 it was success; in Bangkok, Cho Eonrae and Seo Hyundeok accounted for Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and Koki Niwa at the final hurdle.
Defeat for Kenta Matsudaira and Koki Niwa who were only the second Japanese pairing ever to reach a Men’s Doubles final at the Grand Finals; in 2002 in Stockholm, Akira Kito and Toshio Tasaki reached the final. They were beaten by China’s Kong Linghui and Ma Long.
In Doha, it was the same outcome 14 years later for Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima.
Thus China’s Chen Qi and Ma Lin alongside Singapore’s Gao Ning and Li Hu remain the only pairs ever to retain the Men’s Doubles title at a Grand Finals.
Chen Qi and Ma Lin won in 2003 in Guangzhou and the following year in Beijing; Gao Ning and Li Hu emerged successful in Huangzhou in 2012 and in early January 2014 when they won the 2013 version in Dubai.