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Women's Singles and Doubles Finals-ITTF Challenge DPR Korea Open

ITTF Challenge DPR Korea Open

Sunday 6th August


Kim Song I, more than one reason to celebrate

Just four days short of her 23rd birthday, on Sunday 6th August, the host nation’s Kim Song I had more than one cause to celebrate.

She won the Women’s Singles title at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Pyongyang Open; having earlier in the day secured the Women’s Doubles crown in partnership with colleague Choe Hyon Hwa.

In contests involving players from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Women’s Doubles title was secured at the final expense of Ri Hyon Sim and Ri Mi Gyong (11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 7-11, 11-8), before the Women’s Singles title was clinched with victory over Cha Hyo Sim (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).

Listed at no.25 on the current Women’s World Rankings, as opposed to her adversary, listed one hundred places lower at no.125 Kim Song I, the highest rated player on duty in the whole tournament was the clear favourite for gold.

Furthermore, it was the second time that she had beaten Cha Hyo Sim in a Pyongyang final; in 2015, after losing to her colleague in the group stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, she turned the tables to emerge successful in the title decider.

Pertinently, the win meant that Kim Song I retained her title, having beaten Ri Myong Sun in the 2016 final.

Three titles in Pyongyang in singles events. It is now three in Women’s Doubles competitions. In 2015 and 2016, Kim Song I had joined forces with Ri Myong Sun; on both occasions beating Kim Hye Song and Ri Mi Gyong in the final.

Overall when considering the ITTF World Tour and ITTF Challenge Series, it was the fourth time that a pair from DPR Korea had won a Women’s Doubles title; at the 2001 English Open in Chatham, Kim Hyang Mi and Kim Hyon Hui secured the top prize. They beat Japan’s Miyuki Nishi and Yuka Nishii in the final.

A total of six titles won on home soil; also Kim Song I can add one more to the career tally; in 2012 she claimed the Women’s Singles title on the ITTF World Tour in Sweden, on that occasion she beat Russia’s Polina Mikhailova in the final.

Kim Song I is the most successful player from DPR Korea on either the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series; the only other occasion when a player representing DPR Korea has won a Women’s Singles title is 2001 in Qatar. On that occasion Kim Hyon Hui beat Croatia’s Tamara Boros, in the final.