11 Nov 2018

An inspired move in Halmstad at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships, when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Korea Republic joined forces at the semi-final stage of the Women’s event; it provided the trigger, the spark to further co-operation between the two national associations.

Later in the year on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, in July in Daejeon and more recently in Stockholm, supported by the ITTF Foundation and sponsored by Sportsmaster, doubles pairs involving players from the two countries were formed. Now in Austria on Thursday 8th November, it is a similar scenario; moreover another step has been taken, another step to promoting good relations.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Success for Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin and DPR Korea’s Cha Hyo Sim, the no.4 seeds, in opposition to Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck and Lisa Lung (11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7) in the opening round of the Mixed Doubles event, meant the duo booked an invitation for the forthcoming Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals to be staged in Incheon, Korea Republic in December.

It is an achievement which understandably delights, Thomas Weikert, ITTF President, very much the driving force behind the concept and well aware of the wider implications of the far seeing initiative.

“The ITTF Foundation is very proud of the Unified Korean team. The players are the visible part of a process that exceeds the limits of table tennis and the limits of sport. We thank Sportsmaster for the support of the “One Korea – One Table” project. We congratulate the Unified Korean Team for their excellent results on the Seamaster 2018 World Tours and we hope that the message of peace and unity reaches the worldwide population. Sport is a powerful tool to promote positive social change, it is up to everyone to live them day by day!” Thomas Weikert

Equally delighted with the efforts of Jang Woojin and Cha Hyo Sim, who having won at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum, Shinhan Korea Open is Ryu Seungmin, now a member of the National Olympic Committee and most memorably gold medallist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

“First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the table tennis families for their continued support to the South and North Korean unified team at the last World Championships in Halmstad. It was an historical achievement for us; having a South and North Korean unified pair at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals means a lot to us. It is a big step forward and very significant inspiration for Koreans around the world, especially, for the table tennis family.

It was a very successful move, great achievements have been realized since the World Championships in Halmstad and Korea Open in Daejeon. The unified team in Halmstad contributed to promote peace and influence the two countries positively. However, we still have some challenges to make sustainable peace through table tennis. I strongly believe that the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals will be another big momentum and opportunity for us to step forward in promoting peace and harmony. We will showcase the historical moments to the world.” Ryu Seungmin

At the quarter-final stage of the Mixed Doubles event, Jang Woojin and Cha Hyo Sim meet Germany’s Ruwen Filus and Han Ying.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Austria Open Thomas Weikert Cha Hyo Sim Ryu Seungmin. Jang Woojin

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Photo Gallery

Qualification Day 1 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open