Gold for Yoo Namkyu in 1988 in Seoul, the same for Ryu Seungmin in 2004 Athens; it is in those shoes that at ensuing Olympic Games, male players from the Korea Republic tread.
Both rose to the occasion, in Tokyo can Jeoung Youngsik do the same?
He appears in the men’s team event alongside Jang Woojin and Lee Sangsu, as well as in the men’s singles.
Play in the men’s singles commences on Saturday 24th July, in the men’s team on Sunday 1st August.
A debut in the prestigious multi-sport event in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, now 29 years of age, Jeoung Youngsik is older and wiser; his task to build on the performance displayed in the Brazilian city.
Approaching five years ago in the men’s team event, Korea Republic finished in fourth position; the one difference with regards to Tokyo being that the now 41 year old Joo Saehyuk was on duty, as opposed to Jang Woojin.
Notably, it was only against China in singles matches when Jeoung Youngsik experienced defeat.
In fact, in the whole tournament, the only match he lost not against China was in the doubles when partnering Lee Sangsu against Germany in the bronze medal team event fixture. In a 3-1 defeat, the duo suffered at the hands of Timo Boll and Bastian Steger (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9).
In the men’s team event he beat Brazil’s Cazuo Matsumoto (11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-2), before partnering Lee Sangsu to success against Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi (11-5, 11-7, 11-2) in a 3-0 overall success.
Later, facing Sweden, he accounted for Kristian Karlsson (11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7), after having paired with Lee Sangsu to post an impressive straight games doubles win in opposition to Pär Gerell and Mattias Falck (11-2, 11-4, 11-7). Korea Republic recorded a 3-1 win.
Progress to the semi-finals, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of China but in the opening match of the fixture. Pertinently, Jeoung Youngsik extended Zhang Jike, the full five games (13-15, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4).
Matters concluded with Xu Xin and Zhang Jike, at the time the reigning world champions, defeating Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, in straight games (11-8, 12-10, 11-6).
Defeat meant Korea Republic faced Germany, notably Jeoung Youngsik was the one winner in a 3-1 reverse. In the opening match of the encounter, he overcame Bastian Steger (12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11).
Disappointment in the fact that the end result was one place short of a medal, nevertheless, Jeoung Youngsik could be pleased with his efforts.
Later in the men’s singles, it was a similar splendid effort.
Commencing matters in round three, he beat Great Britain’s Liam Pitchford (6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-5, 11-5), prior to giving the champion elect a real scare; he won the first two games against Ma Long, before losing the next four (6-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-1, 13-11, 13-11).
Now can Jeoung Youngsik build on the Rio performance, his efforts suggest he is comfortable on the biggest stage of all, is a medal within his grasp?
Panagyurishte 2019 JEOUNG Youngsik KOR LEE Sangsu KOR
Geelong 2019 JEOUNG Youngsik KOR LEE Sangsu KOR
Kitakushu 2018 JEOUNG Youngsik KOR LEE Sangsu KOR
Geelong 2018 JEOUNG Youngsik KOR LEE Sangsu KOR
Magdeburg 2017 JEOUNG Youngsik KOR LEE Sangsu KOR
Warsaw 2013 JEOUNG Youngsik KOR LEE Sangsu KOR
Editor: Ian Marshall