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Korea Republic, illustrates same old story

Saturday 05 December

Korea Republic, illustrates same old story

There is no shortage of talent; that fact is crystal clear, the nation boasts exactly 50 players on the current women’s world rankings but for the Republic of Korea, they face the same problem as other national associations.

Opposing players from beyond the continent’s boundaries the record is of a high order, on the whole they tend to succeed, in fact a defeat attracts news; confronting those who honed their skills in the Peoples’ Republic of China, it is a different story.

The fact was illustrated at the recent trilogy of tournaments, held respectively in Weihai, Zhengzhou and Macao.

At the Dishang 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup Jeon Jihee narrowly beat Britt Eerland of the Netherlands but lost to Han Ying and later in the main draw suffered at the hands of Japan’s Mima Ito. Accepted Han Ying represents Germany, but she hails from Liaoning in northern China, a province that has produced a host of world champions and arguably is the hottest of all table tennis hotbeds.

A first round exit, at the Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals for Jeon Jihee it was the same; she lost to China’s Sun Yingsha; later at the World Table Tennis event in Macao, success in opposition to Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, defeat when opposing Wang Yidi.

Meanwhile, for Suh Hyowon, in Weihai, Suh Hyowon beat Romania’s Bernadette Szocs and Egypt’s Dina Meshref prior to losing to Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the player she beat in Zhengzhou, before Sun Yingsha ended progress. Later in Macao, again it was defeat at Chinese hands for Suh Hyowon, she was beaten in her opening match by Liu Weishan.

Facing players from other continents, the Koreans appear too fast; the movement and balance especially a delight to behold, they are much lighter on their feet. Confront the Chinese and whatever they could do, the Chinese can do that vital per cent better.

In order to beat Jeon Jihee or Suh Hyowon; very much the player has to be one who commands a top 10 world ranking or is of the level.

They are outstanding players and there are others but there has been only one player from the Korea Republic to have won the women’s singles title at a World Championships. In 1993 Hyun Junghwa succeeded in Gothenburg; since that date players have come and gone, some have promised and delivered, some have promised and disappeared.

Now is there a player on the horizon in the Korea Republic who may just be able to advance that vital precious step higher? Note the name Shin Yubin.

Earlier in the year in January, she was the mainstay of the Korea’s Republic successful qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In Gondomar at the ITTF World Team Qualification tournament she lost just one match, the doubles partnering Choi Hyojoo when opposing DRP Korea’s Kim Nam Hae and Cha Hyo Sim.

Most impressive, only 16-years old, Shin Yubin could well be the name to note.

Editor: Ian Marshall

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