by Ian Marshall, Editor
The win came prior to a first, compatriot An Ji Song secured the men’s singles title, to mark a milestone in his career as DPR Korea secured a full house of titles on the concluding day of action.
Earlier, Ham Yu Song and Ri Kwang Myong had combined to secure the men’s doubles title, Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae had emerged the women’s doubles champions.
…………An Ji Song, the no.2 seed, after ending the hopes of Iran’s Amir Hodaei Hossein (11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10), secured the title at the expense of colleague Kim Song Il (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 11-4).
…………At the semi-final stage, Kim Song Il had almost come to grief; he was stretched to the very limit by compatriot Ham Yu Song (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 11-4).
…………It was the first time either An Ji Song or Kim Song Il had appeared in a men’s singles final at an open international tournament.
…………After accounting for Kim Jin Hyang, the no.7 seed (11-5, 10-12, 11-3, 8-11, 11-2, 12-10) in all DPR Korean semi-finals, Kim Song Il secured the title at the final expense of Pyon Song Gong, the no.6 seed (14-12, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9).
…………Winner of the under 21 women’s singles title the previous day, in the penultimate round Pyon Song Gyong had caused an upset. She accounted for Kim Nam Hae, the no.3 seed (20-18, 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5).
…………It was for Kim Song I her fifth women’s singles success at an open international tournament. She won in 2012 in Sweden and in 2016 in Pyongyang, when Challenge level tournaments where members of the ITTF World Tour, later when the Challenge Series became events in their own right, she prevailed in Pyongyang in 2017 and 2018.
…………An all DPR Korea final witnessed success for Ham Yu Song and Ri Kwang Myong; they secured the title at the final expense of An Ji Song and Ro Hyon Song (17-15, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 13-11).
…………It was a second title for Ham Yu Song, the previous day he had won the mixed doubles partnering Cha Hyo Sim.
…………Likewise Cha Hyo Sim added a second title to her collection, she partnered Kim Nam Hae to women’s doubles gold; in the final they beat the combination of Norway’s Ilka Duval and Ri Hyon Sim (11-9, 11-7, 11-9).
…………Success for Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae meant they climbed one step higher than the previous year when they had finished runners up.
…………Ilka Duval is the first player ever from Norway to reach a final in any event at an ITTF World Tour or Challenge Series tournament.