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Olympic Games: Shin Yubin beats Olympic gold medallist to gain Tokyo place

Saturday 26 June

A debut in the Olympic Games; in Tokyo Shin Yubin lines up alongside Jeon Jihee and Chi Hyojoo in the women’s team event.

Also, she appears in the women’s singles, play commencing on Saturday 24th July.

Two worthy facts and there is a third; she becomes the youngest ever player to represent the Korea Republic in the table tennis events at the multi-sport quadrennial gathering.

Moreover, it means that even before she lays bat on ball, she has beaten an Olympic gold medallist!

The previous youngest was Ryu Seungmin. He was 18 years and 42 days old when play commenced at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; when the first ball is hit in anger in Tokyo’s Metropoltian Gymnasium, Shin Yubin will be 17 years and 19 days old.

Now, it is not reasonable to compare the efforts of Shin Yubin with the gold medal win gained by Ryu Seungmin on his second appearance, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games; but can Shin Yubin match his first?

It is more than possible.

In Sydney, Ryu Seungmin secured first place in his group, finishing ahead of Australia’s Mark Smythe and Hong Kong’s Leung Chu Yan; the results meant a place in the last 32 where he was beaten by Frenchman, Christophe Legout, the no.16 seed (21-15, 21-23, 10-21, 25-23, 21-17).

Now, in Tokyo, the last 32 that must surely be the goal for Shin Yubin.

At the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament in Gondomar, she remained unbeaten in singles matches. Against Lithuania she accounted for Ugne Baskutyte (11-2, 11-8, 11-2), facing DPR Korea she overcame Cha Hyo Sim (11-8, 9-11, 15-13, 11-1). Later in the crucial contest in opposition to France, she defeated Marie Migot (11-9, 11-9, 11-7).

Meanwhile, earlier this year again she was in good form.

Competing in Doha in the WTT Star Contender Doha tournament in March, required to qualify, she advanced to the quarter-finals.

She beat Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean (7-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9), Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh (11-5, 11-3, 11-3) and Japan’s Sakura Yokoi (11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7) to book her place in the main draw.

The impressive form continued. She recorded a first round win against Miyuu Kihara, like Sakura Yokoi from Japan (5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3). It was a notable win, the previous week at the WTT Contender Doha tournament, Shin Yubin had experienced a straight games defeat against Miyuu Kihara in the opening round (11-7, 13-11, 11-5).

A confidence boosting success, she beat Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska (11-3, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8), prior to causing Japan more pain by ousting Miu Hirano, the no.4 seed (11-4, 13-11, 4-11, 11-7). Progress to the last eight but that was the end of the road, she lost to colleague, Jeon Jihee (7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8).

Reproduce similar form in Tokyo, she may well match the Sydney efforts of Ryu Seungmin or even progress further.

However, whatever happens, already she is a record breaker. She is the youngest ever player to compete in the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.

On Sunday 19th December 2010, she played Yoo Namkyu in an exhibition match at the Grand Finals in Seoul, she was six years and 167 days old!

Editor: Ian Marshall

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