26 Jan 2020

Tense moments, nerves jangling, especially for those sitting on the bench, on the late afternoon of Sunday 26th January, the Korea Republic claimed the one remaining place in the women’s team event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

At the ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament in Gondomar, the no.4 seeds, a 3-1 win was recorded against France, the no.18 seeds.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Star of the show, as she has been throughout the whole Korea Republic campaign, was 15 year old Shin Yubin.

She partnered Choi Hyojoo to doubles success against Stéphanie Loeuillette and Yuan Jia Nan (8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9), before in the fourth match of the fixture returning to the table to beat Marie Migot (11-9, 11-9, 11-7).

“This was a very big match. I was thinking about keeping my concentration. In both matches I was afraid but then I became more and more felt confident. Very happy with the victory. I want to get a medal at the Olympics.” Shin Yubin

Sandwiched in between Lee Eunhye accounted for Marie Migot (13-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-4) to extend the Korea Republic lead, prior to Yuan Jian Nan, giving France hope. Employing high thrown serves that matched the highest of Hungarian international of yesteryear Csilla Batorfi, she overcame Choi Hyojoo (13-11, 11-8, 11-5).

Lost just one match

Success for Shin Yubin and more success for the teenager, in the whole of the five days of play in Gondomar, she lost just one match; most significantly remaining unbeaten in singles. The only defeat was against DPR Korea, the no.10 seeds, when in the decisive round in the main draw to determine Tokyo places, partnering Choi Hyojoo defeat was experienced at the hands of Kim Nam Hae and Cha Hyo Sim (7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10).

A 3-1 reverse was the end result; most pertinently the one win for the Korea Republic was secured by Shin Yubin. In the third match of the contest she overcame Cha Hyo Sim (11-8, 9-11, 15-13, 11-1).

Maintained tradition

Hard earned, the long route but the tradition of being present in the women’s team event at the Olympic Games was maintained; furthermore with a very new selection. Choi Hyojoo and Shin Yubin played in every fixture, the one remaining place was shared between Lee Eunhye and Suh Hyowon, the latter the one player remaining from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games team.

In the Brazilian city Suh Hyowon had lined up alongside Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, a most worthy doubles pair having won no less than eight ITTF World Tour women’s doubles titles, notably succeeding just over three months ago in Germany. In Gondomar Choi Hyojoo and Shin Yubin proved equally adept; they were partners in every fixture; only against DPR Korea did they not give their team the perfect start.

New era

A new era dawns for Korea Republic; now the task is to follow their predecessors. In Rio de Janeiro it was quarter-final exit; in 2012 in London fourth place. In Tokyo can the current players match the team of 2008 in Beijing?

On that occasion Dang Yeseo, Kim Kyungah and Park Miyoung won bronze.

2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Event Shin Yubin

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Day 5 - 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament

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