Kim Kyungah flies Asian flag
On Sunday 12th June 2005 on home soil in Suncheon, Korea’s Kim Kyungah had enjoyed success; she had won the women’s singles title beating Singapore’s Li Jiawei in the final.
It had been a quite dramatic affair, Kim Kyungah succeeding by the very narrowest of margins (11-9, 10-12, 7-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-2, 12-10).
Two weeks later, on Sunday 26th June, on the other side of the world in Rio de Janeiro, the stalwart Korean defender repeated the success. She prevailed in a somewhat less dramatic manner but in an equally hard fought contest. She secured the women’s singles title at the Brazilian Open, overcoming Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus in six games (7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9).
Seeded three, safely through to the quarter-finals, she beat Germany's Elke Wosik 9-11, 5-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9) prior to ousting Croatia’s Tamara Boros. The contest proved to be her closest examination; she won in seven games (11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8) her consistent backspin play the telling factor as Korean coach Lee Jaehwa explained. "It was essential that she kept playing backspin strokes, she had to keep defending and testing her opponent's concentration."
Her adversary in the final was Viktoria Pavlovich, a player who had made tremendous progress in the recent 12 month period; in May 2004 she had been listed at no.40 on the ITTF Women's World Ranking list, on the order of merit for Wednesday 1st June 2005 she had progressed to number 11.
En route to the final, Viktoria Pavlovich had recorded a quarter-final success against Germany's Nicole Struse (11-8, 11-2, 11-5, 5-11, 11-2) prior to ending the hopes of the latter 's compatriot Kristin Silbereisen (11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3).
Success for Kim Kyungah but she stood alone; the only Asian player to claim gold.
The best performance from the continent in the men’s singles was that achieved by Jo Jihoon, like Kim Kyungah from Korea Republic; he reached the quarter-final stage, losing to Germany’s Peter Franz (8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6).
Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, also from Korea Republic, Kim Taehoon and Lee Chulseung advanced to the semi-finals, losing to Sweden’s Pär Gerell and Jens Lundqvist (11-8, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
A semi-final exit for the Korea Republic in the men’s doubles event; in the women’s doubles it was one round later. Kim Minhee and Park Miyoung experienced defeat at the hands of Germany’s Tania Hain-Hofmann and Hungary’s Georgina Pota (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 1-11, 11-5, 18-16).
Similarly, in the under 21 men’s singles, there was no gold for Korea Republic. At the semi-final stage Cho Eonrae lost to Slovakia’s Peter Sereda (11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5). In the same round, in the counterpart under 21 women’s singles competition, Kim Minhee departed at the hands of Germany’s Kristin Silbereisen (13-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-8).