“This time, we will win the gold medal by ‘dying’ instead of ‘living’.”
For Jang Woo-jin (Mirae Asset Securities) and Lim Jong-hoon (Korea Exchange), South Korea’s men’s table tennis ‘ace’ doubles pair, the individual world championships are synonymous with disappointment.
The duo reached the men’s doubles final in Houston in 2021 after a dominant performance that saw them defeat powerhouses from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.
Their final opponents were Sweden’s Matthias Falk-Christian Karlsson, an emerging powerhouse.
The Chinese pair, always regarded as the ‘0’ favourites, had suffered back-to-back shock losses to Falk and Karlsson in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.메이저놀이터
It is very rare for a Chinese pair not to meet in a major table tennis tournament until the final.
However, that luck was with the pair of Zhang Wujin and Lim Jonghoon.
At the time, it looked like the Chinese pair could win the gold medal if they played as well as they had been playing.
However, they lost 1-4 and had to settle for silver.
The pair have since teamed up as a doubles pair at international events. At every opportunity, they would bring up the disappointment of 2021 to spur each other on.
Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon defeated Germany’s ‘veteran duo’ Dmitry Ovcharov-Patrik Franziska 3-2 (11-7 5-11 8-11 11-9 11-5) in the men’s doubles semi-finals of the 2023 Individual World Championships in Durban, South Africa, on 26 June.
The pair pumped their fists and roared in celebration as they made history by becoming the first Korean table tennis team to reach two consecutive men’s doubles finals at the World Championships.
After the match, Jang Woo-jin said, “It means a lot to be in the final twice in a row,” adding, “It was a very difficult match, but we managed to overcome the hump by trusting and relying on each other.”
“If I had played a little better in the beginning, the match would have been easier,” said Lim Jong-hoon, “but it was unfortunate that I didn’t. Woo-jin told me that my brother was fine, so I was able to play more confidently.”
“I have no intention of being satisfied here. She is determined to get one more win and win the gold medal.
Korean table tennis won three gold medals in the 1980s and 1990s in the women’s individual and mixed doubles.
However, they have never won gold in the men’s individual event. Neither in the Yoo Nam-gyu era nor in the Yoo Seung-min era did Korea win gold in the men’s singles or men’s doubles at the World Championships.
If Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon can win gold this time around, they will be writing “new history” for Korean table tennis.
It will be a tough battle. Their final opponents are China’s world number one pair of Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin.
“I really want to win the gold medal, and I will play hard to make up for last year’s disappointment,” said Lim Jong-hoon.
Jang Woo-jin said, “This time, I will not play ‘live and let live’ but ‘die’ to get a gold medal result. I’m not going to do my best, I’m just going to come out with a result.”