by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the 2016 ITTF World Tour Challenge Pyongyang Open, Pak Sin Hyok had experienced defeat at the hands of colleague, Ro Kwang Jin (8-11, 14-12, 9-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-7); one year later he turned the tables and he turned the tables in considerable style.
Once again the top seed, he beat his nemesis of one year earlier in four straight games (11-5, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7).
A place in the final in an event he has never won, the closest was in 2015 when losing to Choe Il in the final; however, on that occasion, he did enjoy success. He partnered Choe Il to Men’s Doubles gold, the pair beating colleagues An Ji Song and Ro Hyun Song in the final (11-8, 11-9, 11-6).
Now in 2017, there is a chance to repeat the feat. At the semi-final stage of the Men’s Doubles event, Choe Ill and Pak Sin Hyok overcame Hwang Chung Nam and Ri Kwang Myong (11-4, 11-9, 11-7).
Success in both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles semi-finals for Pak Sin Hyok; it was the same for Kang Wi Hun, the winner of the Men’s Singles title one year ago.
He partnered Sim Un Song to victory over Ham Yu Song and Kim Song Gum (11-5, 13-15, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8), before accounting for Kim Hyong Jin (12-14, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 1-11, 11-2, 11-4) in the penultimate round of the Men’s Singles event.
Play concludes in Pyongyang on Sunday 6th August.
Photos: Ri Myong Song