South Korean table tennis team Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon won silver at the World Championships. They missed out on gold after being blocked by the Great Wall of China, but became the first Korean men’s doubles team to win back-to-back silver medals at the World Championships, signaling a bright future.
World No. 3 Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon lost 0-3 (11-13 6-11 5-11) to world No. 1 Pan Zhen-dong and Wang Chu-chin of China in the men’s doubles final at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships 2023 at the Durban International Convention Center (DICC) in Durban, South Africa, on Sunday (local time).
It was the second consecutive silver medal for Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon, who became the first Korean men’s doubles team to win a silver medal at the 2021 event in Houston, USA. Lee Sang-soo and Cho Dae-sung, who lost to the Chinese pair in the quarterfinals, also won silver and bronze medals in the men’s doubles.
They dropped the first game to deuce. Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon widened the gap early in the game and took a 7-3 lead. However, back-to-back errors cut the deficit to 8-6, and although they pulled within one point when their opponent’s attack hit the net and was out, they lost the next four points to fall behind 9-10.
Jang Woo-jin’s strong drive hit the defense and floated high for an out, making it a 10-10 deuce. After exchanging one more point at 11-11, an attack was out and the opponent’s serve was unreturned to take the game 11-13.
In the second game, they scored the first two points, but six consecutive errors turned the tide. Pan Jeon-dong’s attacks failed to hit the net, giving him a respite, but the gap gradually widened and he was unable to catch up. Down two points in the final game, the team took a timeout to stem the tide and pull within 3-4. However, they conceded four points in a row, and the final score was 0-3.
“I’m very disappointed that we didn’t win the gold medal we wanted,” said Jang Woo-jin after the match, “but I think it was an opportunity for us to mature and develop further.” “It’s a shame that I couldn’t change the color of my medal,” said Lim Jong-hoon, “but I’m happy that I overcame many obstacles and I’m grateful to Woo Jin-hyung.”
Commenting on the first back-to-back silver medals for Korean men’s doubles, Jang Woo-jin said, “I feel proud and honored to be a part of history,” adding, “I feel honored because it proves that we are trying to catch up a little bit, even though we are not performing as well as our seniors like Yoo Seung-min and Kim Taek-soo, and I will try to follow their path.”
“I may be disappointed (with the silver medal) now, but when I stop playing table tennis and look back, I will think, ‘I did well,’” Lim Jong-hoon said, adding, “It’s a little more valuable because I trained a lot.”
The tournament is over, but there’s still a lot of table tennis to look forward to, including the Asian Championships in Pyeongchang in September, the Asian Games in Hangzhou, the team event at the World Table Tennis Championships in Busan next year, and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. To win gold, they’ll have to overcome the Chinese barrier.스포츠토토
“I felt a lot of ‘China is China’ in the final, and I also felt a lot of disappointment because I practiced a lot to win this title,” said Zhang Wujin. “Whether it’s the Asian Championships or the Asian Games, I think I will have to make a lot of effort to win gold in doubles this year.”
“Next time, I think I will train a lot to be one step ahead,” said Lim Jong-hoon. “I want to live a life without regrets when I look back on my life and ask myself, ‘Did I play the table tennis I wanted to play and achieve the results I wanted to achieve,’ so I want to do my best to prepare for the competition without regrets.”