2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships
Yogyakarta, Friday 13th September
Contenders but best chance for honours in doubles unison
Major contenders for honours but in which events does the men’s team from Korea Republic have the best chance of success at the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships commencing on Sunday 15th September in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta?
An Jaehyeon, Jang Woojin and Jeoung Youngsik, alongside Kim Minhyeok and Lee Sangsu form the selection for the men’s team and men’s singles events; notably as earlier in the year at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, there is no place for Lim Jonghoon. Currently on the men’s world rankings, he is listed at no.29 behind Jang Woojin at no.14, Lee Sangsu at n.17 and Jeoung Youngsik at no.27; he is ahead of Kim Minhyeok at no.223 and Cho Daeseong at no.138.
The name of Cho Daeseong does not appear on the entry list for the men’s team or the men’s singles events; he is named in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles event.
At the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships, a national association is allowed five players in each of the men’s singles and women’s singles events plus in two pairs in each doubles competition. Left handed, he is the ideal partner for the right hander, a point he proved at the recent 2019 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc. He partnered Lee Sangsu to men’s doubles gold, having a few hours earlier achieved the same feat in the mixed doubles in harness with Shin Yubin. In Yogyakarta, once again he joins forces with Shin Yubin; in the men’s doubles he partners Jang Woojin.
Similarly, Lee Sangsu appears in both doubles line-ups, events where medal hopes are high. In the men’s doubles he joins forces with Jeoung Youngsik, the player with whom he has won seven titles on the ITTF World Tour, including this year in both Australia and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles he allies with Jeon Jihee, the player with whom he gained success last year on the ITTF World Tour in Australia.
Realistic medal hopes, it is the same in the men’s team event, Korea Republic occupies the no.2 seeded position. Somewhat differently, in the men’s singles with five Chinese players – Fan Zhendong, Liang Jingkun, Lin Gaoyuan, Wang Chuqin, Xu Xin – plying their trade, a top four finish is not beyond the bounds of possibility but is not a high possibility!
Lee Sangsu, Jeoung Youngsik and Jang Woojin have all won ITTF World Tour men’s singles titles. Notably Lee Sangsu added his name to the history books when at the 2010 Slovenia Open in Velenje, he became the first player to win an ITTF World Tour men’s singles event and start the journey in the qualification stage. Later in 2011, he won in Poland.
Similarly, both Jang Woojin and Jeoung Youngsik have two such titles to their name. In 2015 Jeoung Youngsik won on home soil in Incheon and in Australia; likewise Jang Woojin succeeded on home turf when he prevailed in 2018 in Daejeon having two years earlier emerged victorious in Belarus.
Equally, all three have wins over China’s elite; in 2012 Lee Sangsu beat Ma Long in the third round of the men’s singles event at the ITTF World Tour Korea Open, later in the same round he halted the progress of Zhang Jike at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships. However, the man in form is Jeoung Youngsik, earlier this year at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Korea Open, at the quarter-final stage he accounted for Fan Zhendong.
Noteworthy results, it is the same for Jang Woojin and perhaps he is the good omen for the Korea Republic; in 2015 in Pattaya, Thailand, he beat Zhang Jike first in the men’s team event and then later in the men’s singles; the tournament, the Asian Championships!
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: APAC Sport Media