01 Aug 2017

Winner one year ago when beating China’s Xu Yingbin in the final, the host nation’s Kang Wi Hun defends his title at this year’s 2017 ITTF Challenge Pyongyang Open.

Play starts in the capital city of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Wednesday 2nd August and concludes on Sunday 6th August.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Present at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships in Wuxi earlier this year, where he was beaten in the second round by China’s Ma Long, Kang Wi Hun is the third highest rated player on duty in the Men’s Singles event in Pyongyang. The 28 year old is presently listed at no.148 in the Men’s World Rankings.

The highest listed names are those of colleagues, Pak Sin Hyok and Ro Kwang Jin; the former, 26 years old is named at no.81, the latter, one year older, stands at no.27.

Notably at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships, in the Men’s Singles event Pak Sin Hyok beat the Czech Republic’s Tomas Konecny in the opening round, before losing to the experience displayed by Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.

Meanwhile, Ro Kwang Jin was in action earlier this year in Wuxi. He reached the second round of the Men’s Singles event; his progress being halted by China’s redoubtable Ma Long.

Worthy names from the host nation and there is one more in particular. Choe Il, 23 years of age, is presently named at no.149 on the Men’s World Rankings. Similarly he competed in Wuxi, where in round three Japan’s Koki Niwa ended adventures. Later, at the Liebherr Word Championships Düsseldorf, he departed at the first hurdle when beaten by Panagiotiss Gionis of Greece.

Defeats but playing on home soil life may prove to be very different and he does harbour a penchant for the tournament.

He won the Men’s Singles title in 2015; two years later could it be same again?

Challenge Series 2017 DPR Korea Open Ro Kwang Jin Choe Il Kang Wi Hun Pak Son Hyok

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