04 Aug 2017

A second round appearance earlier this year at both the Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships in Wuxi and at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf; Ri Mi Gyong suffered a somewhat surprise quarter-final Women’s Singles exit at the ITTF Pyongyang Challenge Open on the morning of Friday 4th August.

Presently listed at no.76 on the Women’s World Rankings, the 26 year old was beaten by 23 year old colleague, Choe Hyon Hwa, named at no.125 in the global order; she was beaten in one of three last eight contests decided by the minimal margin in the decisive fifth game.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Ri Mi Gyong appeared to be en route to a straight games win; she won the first three games, all by the minimal two point margin, before Cha Hyo Sim responded to secure the next four to seal the victory (9-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9).

Likewise, it was success by the closest of decisions for 24 year old Choe Hyon Hwa in opposition to Kim Nam Hae but somewhat of a reverse when compared with the duel between Cha Hyo Sim and Ri Mi Gyong.  Choe Hyon Hwa, presently listed at no.70 on the Women’s World Rankings, withstood a spirited recovery by Kim Nam Hae to secure victory (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9).

Furthermore, it was arguably an outcome that could be predicted. In the qualification group phase of proceedings in Pyongyang; in 2015 Kim Nam Hae had beaten Choe Hyon Hwa; last year at the same stage the decision had been reversed.

Withstanding a recovery, it was the very same for Kim Sol Song against Kim Jin Hyang; she won the first three games, lost the next three, before imposing her authority on proceedings to win the decider (11-7, 11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 2-11, 10-12, 11-5).

Nervous moments but not for Kim Song I, the leading name on duty in an event that witnessed all eight quarter-finalists from DPR Korea; she was the exception to the rule. Listed at no.25 on the current Women’s World Rankings, the 22 year old beat Jong Un Ju in four straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4).

At the semi-final stage, Kim Song I meets Choe Hyon Hwa; in the opposite half of the draw, Cha Hyo Sim faces Kim Sol Song.

The penultimate round matches will be played on Saturday 5th August, as will the same stage contests in the Women’s Doubles event; similarly all DPR Korea affairs. Ri Hyon Sim and Ri Mi Gyong face Jong Un Ju and Kim Junju; Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae oppose Choe Hyon Hwa and Kim Song I.

In the required quarter-final duels, Jong Un Ju and Kim Jinju overcame Jong Su Gyong and Ri Pok Hyang (11-9, 11-5, 11-7); Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae ended the hopes of Kim Sol Song and Kim Su Hyang (7-11, 11-2, 11-7, 14-12).

 Opening Ceremony: Hang Seng Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open
Photos: Ri Myong Song

Challenge Series 2017 DPR Korea Open Ri Mi Gyong

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