The anticipation is rising in Incheon and far beyond… for on Saturday (at 16.20 GMT+9), fans gathered at the Namdong Gymnasium and those watching on TV screens, as well as Live on ITTF social media, will be wondering if history is made in Saturday’s Mixed Doubles final at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
The two players tasked with rewriting the history books are JANG Woojin, of South Korea, and CHA Hyo Sim, of North Korea. Together they have formed what may have seemed the unlikeliest of Mixed Doubles partnerships.
Formed less than six months ago, they tasted success at the first time of asking, poignantly at July’s Korea Open. Now, back in Korea, they are just one step away from adding a magical new chapter to their incredible journey, with the chance to claim gold at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
More importantly, this is a chance to reinforce bridges between both sides of the border and provide the latest crowning moment of the Unified Korea movement, proving that Table Tennis can play its part in positive social change within the Peninsula and beyond.
This is a chance that JANG Woojin and CHA Hyo Sim have handed themselves following Friday’s emotional semi-finals victory over LIM Jonghoon and YANG Haeun, incidentally both from South Korea.
Deep into the fifth game and with victory confirmed, the cheers of joy ringing around the stadium were palpable for all present.
“To hear the cheer ‘Korea!’ was very meaningful and empowering,” admitted JANG Woojin post-match.
“At times, I felt goosebumps of excitement running through me. I’m always thankful for the cheers.”
What is certain is that there’ll be plenty more cheers coming their way on Saturday, willing them over the line for a greater good.
Formed midway through the 2018 World Table Tennis Championships in April this year, the Unified Korea team is an initiative set up and backed by the ITTF together with Sportsmaster.