by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In Spala just one title eluded Korean hands, the Under 21 Men’s Singles event was won by the host nation’s Marek Badowski; most pertinently on the concluding day of play, it was a clean sweep.
Korea provided all four semi-finalists in the Men’s Singles event with Lim Jonghoon overcoming Jang Woojin to secure the title, Cho Daeseong and Jeoung Youngsik being the respective beaten semi-finalists.
At Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open, all must start again, all must compete in the qualification tournament, a Men’s Singles event which has 50 groups will require two preliminary rounds to determine the names of the 16 players who will gain main draw places.
It is the same for the most successful female Korean female player on duty in Spala, Yang Haeun, the winner of the Women’s Singles event and with Jeon Jihee, the Women’s Doubles champion, she must compete in the qualification stage. It is the same for Jeon Jihee who lost to Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto in the penultimate round in Spala before Yang Haeun redressed the balance for Korea. Both Jeon Jihee and Honoka Hashimoto must compete in the qualification tournament.
However, in the Women’s Doubles event, Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun occupy the no.3 seeded position.
Meanwhile, the only seeded Korean in the Women’s Singles competition is Suh Hyowon, she is the no.14 seed. It is the same in the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles events, Lee Sangu is the no.12 seed in the Men’s Singles competition, in the Men’s Doubles, alongside Jeong Youngsik, he is the no.8 seed.
In Spala, Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu won the Men’s Doubles title; a repeat in Bremen?
Since the days of Ryu Seungmin, Oh Sangeun and Joo Saehyuk, has there been a lull in Korean fortunes; the same may apply to the women since the days Kim Kyungah and Pak Miyoung led the line.
Equally is Korea as strong now as is in the era of Kim Taeksoo and Ahn Jaehyung? The current generation has a point to prove; they proved the point in Spala, can they do the same in Bremen?
If Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu can win the Men’s Doubles in Bremen, the point is proved; just a certain Chinese partnership of Ma Long and Xu Xin might prove a stumbling block?