31 Dec 2018

The World Championships in the west coast Swedish town of Halmstad witnessed success for China, there was a new innovation on the Seamaster ITTF World Tour and six decades of anguish came to a close.

Intense competition, drama and history was the order of the summer months in the northern hemisphere.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Notably China and India were very much to the fore but it was the fact that the Democratic People’s Republic and the Korea Republic joined forces which created the greatest interest.

Korea united in Halmstad
Kasumi Ishikawa beat Kim Song I in the second match of the semi-final clash between Japan and Korea (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

China secured both titles at the Liebherr World Team Championships but it was the events on Thursday 5th May that hit the headlines. DPR Korea and Korea Republic were due to meet at the quarter-final stage Women’s Team event; following a request from both national associations, it was agreed they could unite and receive a direct entry to the semi-finals. In the penultimate round Jeon Jihee, Kim Song I and Yang Haeun combined; they experienced a three-nil defeat at the hands of Japan’s Mima Ito, Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano.

Three titles for Jang Woojin
Jang Woojin, required to compete in the qualification tournament followed Mixed Doubles and Men’s Doubles success by securing the Men’s Singles title (Photo: An Sungho)

 

Early in June, the first Mixed Doubles event ever to be staged on the ITTF World Tour, had been held in Shenzhen; later in mid-July, the second was held in the Korea Republic. Notably, players from DPR Korea journeyed south, doubles combinations between the two nations were formed; the most notable being that of Jang Woojin and Cha Hyo Sim who emerged as Mixed Doubles champions. In addition Jang Woojin won the Men’s Doubles partnering Lim Jonghoon and ended proceedings by being crowned Men’s Singles champion.

Six decades wait ends
Unbridled delight for India in Jakarta (Photo: An Sungho)

 

Gold medallists earlier in the year at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games; India represented by Sharath Kamal Achanta, Harmeet Desai and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran secured the bronze medal at the Asian Games in Jakarata. It was India’s first ever medal in the table tennis events at the multi-sport gathering. Table tennis was first introduced in Games schedule in 1958.

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2018 Review of Year Jang Woojin Cha Hyo Sim Korea Republic DPR Korea