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Notable landmarks in Doha

Thursday 07 October

The dust has settled, the 2021 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships came to a successful conclusion in Doha on the early evening of Tuesday 5th October.

Japan and Korea Republic shared the honours in which was the 25th edition of the tournament under the auspices of the Asian Table Tennis Union, the first being held in 1972 in Beijing.

Previously, the event had been organised under the administration of the Table Tennis Federation of Asia; overall 10 occasions, the first being in 1952 in Singapore, the last in 1970 in Nagoya.

In Doha, there were notable landmarks, especially for the Korea Republic.

Selecting from An Jaehyun, Cho Seungmin, Jang Woojin, Lee Sangsu and Lim Jonghoon, they secured the men’s team title for only the second time; the only prior occasion being in 1996 in Kallang.

Meanwhile, the women’s doubles success recorded by Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin was only their fourth in the event and notably a win on only the second occasion the tournament had been staged in Qatar.

In 2000, Lee Eunsil and Seok Hyunmi emerged successful in Doha; previously Lee Eunsil and Ryu Jihae had won in 1998 in Osaka, Hyun Junghwa and Yang Youngja in 1988 in Niigata.

However, perhaps the biggest landmark was that achieved by Lee Sangsu, dating back to 1952, he became the first ever player from Korea Republic to win the men’s singles title.

Lee Sangsu, Korea Republic's first ever men's singles winner

Meanwhile, for Japan, represented by Minami Ando, Hina Hayata, Miyu Nagasaki, Hitomi Sato and Saki Shibata, they claimed gold for the first time since 1974 in Yokohama.

Somewhat different, Shunsuke Togami and Hina Hayata secured the mixed doubles title for Japan for an overall 11th time; seven when held under the direction of the Table Tennis Federation of Asia, four time when directed by the Asian Table Tennis Union.

However, it was the first time for since 1978 in Kuala Lumpur when Seiji Ono and Kayo Sugaya prevailed.

Success for Hina Hayata, it was the same in the women’s singles and the third time in succession for a player born in 2000.

Sensationally, colleague Miu Hirano won in 2017 in Wuxi, China’s Sun Yingsha in 2019 in Yogyakarta.

At the final hurdle, Hina Hayata beat Shin Yubin, only 17 years old; their combined ages, two years less than that of the men’s singles runner up Chinese Taipei’s 40 year old Chuang Chih-Yuan!

Editor: Ian Marshall

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