Tournaments

11 Mar 2019

Two years ago in Düsseldorf, in the men’s singles event, the star of the show for the Korea Republic was Lee Sangsu, he reserved the third step of the podium.

Now two years later in Budapest at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, proceedings commencing in the Hungarian capital city on Sunday 21st April, will he be able to replicate that form, can he once again rise to the occasion?

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the German city, after beating Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic and colleague Cho Seungmin, he caused arguably the biggest upset of the tournament, he accounted for China’s Zhang Jike, the player who in addition to his well recorded successes had lost just one match the previous year at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; that being in the men’s singles final against colleague Ma Long.

Buoyant, Lee Sangsu proceeded to beat Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus to reach the penultimate round where China’s Fan Zhendong never put a foot wrong to end progress.

Now 28 years old, increasingly experienced can he raise his game as two years ago and bring pride to his nation? Last year was not his best. Accepted he reached the semi-final stage of the men’s singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Lion Japan Open but otherwise podium finishes were not plentiful.

Standing on the podium in Düsseldorf there was a broad smile and a sense of immense pride; not only from Lee Sangsu, also from his coach, the irrepressible Kim Taeksoo, the man who once experienced what must be one of the most heartbreaking moments on sport, one that would have ended the career of a lesser character.

In an age when research into substances used to attach racket coverings to blades was not as refined as these days; at the quarter-final stage of men’s singles event at the 1995 World Championships in Tianjin, Kim Taeksoo was disqualified for using an illegal glue after beating the host nation’s Wang Tao.

Warnings had been issued, appeals from the Korean Table Tennis Association were not upheld and the dream of a medal evaporated. It was a devastating situation but Kim Taeksoo came back and competed as strongly as ever; his passion for the sport as strong as ever, today as he sits courtside as adviser, it is no different, he engrossed in every millisecond.

It is his attitude, his genuine desire for his charge to succeed that might just be the key in Budapest, the key to a podium finish for Lee Sangsu.

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Day 8 - 2019 World Table Tennis Championships

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