05 Oct 2021

Semi-finalist at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf, on the late afternoon of Tuesday 5th October, Lee Sangsu won the men’s singles title at the 2021 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships in Doha, a day that proved most rewarding for the Korea Republic.

Earlier, Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin had secured the women’s doubles title.

by Ian Marshall

At the final hurdle, Lee Sangsu, the no.3 seed, accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.4 seed, in a tension packed full distance five games encounter (12-10, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8).

The win came after in the penultimate round he had escaped from jail.

After losing the opening game against Japan’s surprise semi-finalist, Shunsuke Togami, in each of the second and third games he trailed 7-10 before securing victory. It was highway robbery (8-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-6).

So near yet so far for Chuang Chih-Yuan (Photo: Sayed Hussein)


Meanwhile, in the counterpart semi-final contest Chuang Chih-Yuan accounted for Jang Woojin, the top seed and thus prevented any possibility of an all-Korean final. Chuang Chih-Yuan prevailed in four games (6-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-9).

Hindsight is wonderful but was it a match too far for Jang Woojin?

Pivotal to team success, unbeaten until the penultimate day of action, in the mixed doubles partnering Jeon Jihee he had to settle for runners up spot and the same in the men’s doubles in harness with Lim Jonghoon.

Perhaps surprising, it is the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1952 in Singapore that a player from the Korea Republic has won the men’s singles title at an Asian Championships. It has taken almost 70 years!

Meanwhile, Chuang Chih-Yuan fell just one step short of emulating colleague Chiang Peng-Lung; he is the only player from Chinese Taipei ever to win the coveted title. Significantly, he won in 2000 in Doha.

All smiles from Shin Yubin and Jeon Jihee (Photo: Sayed Hussein)


Success for Lee Sangsu came after Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin, the top seeds, had captured women’s doubles gold.

Following success against Japan’s Minami Ando and Miyu Nagasaki, the no.6 seeds (11-8, 11-8, 11-9) the Korean duo accounted for Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.5 seeds (11-5, 7-11, 11-3, 11-4) to arrest the title.

Earlier Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching had caused somewhat of an upset by overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hsien-Tzu and Liu Hsing-Yin, the no.2 seeds  (11-9, 11-1, 11-3).

Gold for Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin means they become the fourth pair from Korea Republic to secure the title and made sure that when the Asian Championships are held in Doha, the title is always won by Korea Republic.

On the one other occasion in when Doha hosted the event, in 2000 Lee Eunsil and Seok Eunmi emerged the winners.

Previously, in 1998 in Osaka, Lee Eunsil had partnered Ryu Jihae to success, in 1988 in Niigata Hyun Junghwa and Yang Younga had emerged the champions.

A celebration to conclude proceedings, Ryu Seungmin uses his renowned powerful forehand to good effect (Photo: Hussein Sayed)
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