01 Oct 2021

A wait of a quarter of a century came to a conclusion on Friday 1st October, when at the 2021 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships in Doha, the Korea Republic won the men’s team title.

The only previous occasion since 1972, the year the tournament was first staged under the auspices of the Asian Table Tennis Union, when they had secured the title, was in 1996 in Kallang, Singapore.

by Ian Marshall

In the Qatari city the wait came to a conclusion; in the title deciding contest a 3-1 win was recorded against Chinese Taipei.

Man of the moment was Jang Woojin; in the final he accounted for Chen Chien-An (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7) in the opening match of the fixture and Chuang Chih-Yuan 11-9, 11-7, 11-5) in the contest that brought matters to a conclusion.

Sandwiched in between Chuang Chih-Yuan overcame Lee Sangsu (11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 11-8) to level matters, before An Jaehyun beat Feng Yi-Hsin (12-10, 11-9, 14-12) to restore the lead.

India worthy opponents

Hard fought success, it was the same earlier in the day at the semi-final stage; the 3-0 win recorded by Korea Republic in opposition to India did not reflect the intensity of the contest.

Jang Woojin gave Korea Republic the ideal start by overcoming Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in four games (11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5); a close contest, the next two engagements were even closer!

Lee Sangsu eventually beat Sharath Kamal Achanta after trailing 7-9 in the deciding fifth game; he won four points in a row to secure victory (7-11, 15-13, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).

One match later it was a similar scenario, Cho Seungmin was 8-10 in arrears in the vital fifth game against Harmeet Desai. He saved both match points, then held an 11-10 lead before eventually succeeding (11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 13-11).

Nevertheless, a top four finish, like Korea Republic, the only previous occasion when such a feat had been achieved was 1996 in Kallang!

Full distance

Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei needed the full five matches to beat Japan.

Backbone of the success was Chen Chien-An, now 30 years old, experience prevailed.

In the opening match of the fixture, he accounted for Yuto Kizukuri (11-6, 11-6, 13-11), before in the concluding fifth match securing victory against Shunsuke Togami in a five games contest (4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7).

The one further win for Chinese Taipei was claimed in the third match when Feng Yi-Hsin recovered from an opening game deficit to beat Hiroto Shinozuka (5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7).

Success for Japan came at the expense of Huang Yan-Cheng, he was beaten by Shunsuke Togami in the second match (11-4, 11-8, 11-5) and later by Yuto Kizukuri (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5).

Play in the individual events is now the focus of attention.


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