by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Currently listed at no.19 on the Women’s World Rankings, the highest of her career, the 22 year old is not only the leading name on duty, she is also the defending champion.
One year ago she emerged the most successful female player on duty. She partnered Ri Myong Sun to Women’s Doubles success, the player with whom she had won the title one year earlier, before overcoming her partner in the Women’s Singles final.
Success on home soil was just one of several notable performances in 2016; bronze medals in the biggest events of the year were the highlights.
In early March, alongside Ri Myong Sun and Ri Mi Gyong, she played a pivotal role in guiding DPR Korea to the third step of the podium at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships, before enjoying a similar outcome in the Women’s Singles event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She experienced defeat at the semi-final stage against the champion elect, China’s formidable Ding Ning, before overcoming Japan’s Ai Fukuhara in the bronze medal contest.
Meanwhile, at the recent Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships in Wuxi and at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf, she advanced to the fourth round of the Women’s Singles event; in both instances she was beaten by China’s Liu Shiwen.
Undoubtedly, Kim Song I starts very much the favourite but there is strong competition; colleagues Choe Hyon Hwa and Ri Mi Gyong being names to note.
Listed at no.67 on the current Women’s World Rankings, Choe Hyon Hwa secured a quarter-final Women’s Singles place in Wuxi losing to Liu Shiwen; Ri Mi Gyong named at no.74 in the global order advanced to round two in Düsseldorf. She was beaten by Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun.
Candidates for honours in the Women’s Singles event, they are also major Women’s Doubles protagonists. Choe Hyon Hwa partners Kim Song I; Ri Mi Gyong joins forces with Ri Hyon Sim.