It was an incredible day for JANG Woojin and for Korea table tennis, as the 22-year-old swept both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles title in Daejeon in front of an ecstatic 6000-capacity crowd at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Shinhan Korea Open.
With the Mixed Doubles title from yesterday with North Korea’s CHA Syo Him already in his pocket, he becomes the first-ever triple-Champion on the World Tour.
JANG and CHA’s unified Korean mixed doubles win was a symbolic start in bringing North and South Korea together on the table. At a press conference earlier in the day, ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT stated: “It was a particularly touching moment for us, as the ITTF Foundation started this project in Halmstad and we have long-term plans for the unified teams, perhaps even for the Busan 2020 World Table Tennis Championships.”
Member of the International Olympic Committee and Korean table tennis Olympic Gold Medalist, RYU Seung-Min added: “The unified team in Korea Open is a symbolic achievement and a historical moment for Korea. I hope this historical moment can be continued in the future. We had a tripartite agreement with ITTF, North Korea, and South Korea on 21 July 2018. With the support from the ITTF Foundation, we all agree to form unified teams in the Austrian Open and Swedish Open.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in commented on his Facebook page “I applaud the joint performance of the two Koreas at the 2018 Korea Open international table tennis tournament. Jang Woojin and Cha Hyosim won the brilliant gold medal of the mixed doubles and provided an exciting victory. I would also like to thank the South and North Korean team players who have done their best to the end. With the athletes’ performances from the two Koreas, Daejeon Chungmu Gymnasium was filled with cheers of ‘We are one’. A small table tennis ball brought the North and South together.”
Building on his momentous win from yesterday, JANG got the local fans on their feet at the Men’s Singles Final as he swept China’s LIANG Jingkun aside 4-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 11-3), giving no chance to the 21-year-old. Having to play from the Korea Open qualifications, it was an unbelievable run for the 2013 World Junior Champion who took down XU Xin and Jun MIZUTANI on his way to the final.
To cap off his unforgettable Korea Open, JANG partnered LIM Jonghoon against Hong Kong’s HO Kwan Kit & WONG Chun Ting in the Men’s Doubles Finals. It was a tight match, with the 2nd game going to 19-17, but they did not hesitate as they defeated their opponents 3-1 (11-8, 19-17, 9-11, 11-9).
“I never thought that I would be able to win all three titles but here I am now and I am very glad about all the fans who cheered for me. I believe the Korea Open is a great opportunity for all table tennis fans to enjoy,” said JANG after his titanic win.
It was an all-Chinese affair for the Women’s Singles Final as ZHU Yuling faced off against CHEN Meng. Their familiarity with each other posed no difficulty to ZHU as she defeated CHEN 4-1 (11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9) to clinch the title.
After her victory, Zhu stated: “As always, we had an amazing match against each other. I would like to thank my fans who came to cheer for me. The Korea Open was absolutely successful for me, and I personally have a love for Korean culture and food.”
While in the Women’s Doubles Final, it was a reversal of roles as CHEN and DING Ning overpowered their fellow Chinese WANG Manyu and ZHU Yuling 3-1 (14-12, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11) to seal the deal.
The Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour continues next week, 26-29 July, in Geelong, Australia.
The Shinhan Korea Open is the fourth of six Platinum events on the ITTF World Tour, which is the top tier of the ITTF World Tour with the most prize money and world ranking points. Together with the six regular ITTF World Tour events, players compete to earn World Tour Standings points qualify for the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events at the one-million-dollar World Tour Grand Finals in December