It was a historic silver medal for the ‘duo of the same age’ who rose above the odds.
South Korean women’s table tennis sensations Shin Yoo-bin (19-Korean Air) and Jeon Jeon-hee (31-Mirae Asset Securities), ranked 12th in the world, lost 0-3 (8-11 7-11 10-12) to China’s Wang Yidi (26) and Chen Meng (29), ranked seventh in the world, in the women’s doubles final of the 2023 ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) Individual World Championships in Durban, South Africa, on Monday. After making waves the previous day with a 3-0 sweep of the world No. 1 pair of Sun Yingxia (23)-Wang Manyu (24), the Korean pair of Shin Yubin and Jeon Jeon-hee were unable to cross the ‘Great Wall’ twice.
It is the first time in 30 years that a Korean woman has won more than a silver medal in a singles or doubles event at a world championship since Hyun Jeong-hwa, 54, head coach of the Korean Horse Society Table Tennis Team, won the women’s singles title in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1993. The Monkey-zodiac pair, who are also the same age, shared the silver medal after overcoming difficulties with a spirit of determination that even if they fell from a tree, they would climb back up.
At the World Championships in Houston two years ago, the team of Shin Yubin and Jeon Jeon-hee had to withdraw without playing a single game. It was due to a stress fracture in Shin’s right wrist.
The table tennis prodigy emerged as a surprise star at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he was affectionately nicknamed “Piyak” for the sound of his cheers when he scored a goal, which resembled a chick’s cry. But after the Olympics that year, he suffered one of the most devastating wrist injuries for a table tennis player in the Asian and World Championships. He eventually underwent surgery to put pins in his carpal bone in May last year, and endured another surgery to remove bone fragments in September.
Throughout the painful process, Shin remained focused on his training. Without the use of her wrist, she trained with weights to build strength in her lower body, and the results of that preparation paid off at the World Championships.
Shin’s doubles partner, Jeon Jeon-hee, is a naturalized player from Langfang, Hebei Province, China. She was a promising player who represented her country at the youth level, but the barrier to the adult level in table tennis’ biggest country was too high. Just as she was contemplating hanging up her racket, she was offered naturalization, and in 2011, she took up the flag and became Zhen Minwei.
A bronze medalist at the 2018 World Team Championships, he injured his knee last year and was told that the “Jeon Jeon-hee era” was coming to an end. He joined Mirae Asset Securities in December, coached by “legend” Kim Taek-soo (53), and pushed himself hard to make a comeback.토토사이트
“When I was injured at the World Championships last year, I was able to overcome it because my sister was with me,” Shin said in tears after winning the silver medal. Jeon Jeon-hee was also overwhelmed, saying, “We weren’t in full physical condition, but days like this come along.” “Shin Yubin played a good role as a maker (of points) with a solid defense, and Jeon Jeon-hee was the main scorer,” said Hyun, who watched the tournament. “They have been playing together for a long time (since 2019) and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses well. The duo’s performance at the tournament has also boosted their medal prospects at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September and the Paris Olympics next year.
Earlier in the day, the men’s doubles team of Jang Woo-jin (28, Mirae Asset Securities) and Lim Jong-hoon (26, Korea Exchange) won the silver medal after falling 3-0 (11-13 6-11 5-11) to China’s Fan Zhen-dong (26) and Wang Chuchin (23). This is the first time Korean table tennis has reached the men’s doubles final at back-to-back World Championships since Houston 2021 (silver). The pair of Cho Dae-sung (21) and Lee Sang-soo (33-ranked Samsung Life Insurance-ranked 11th in doubles) won the bronze medal.
Team Korea ended the tournament with two silver and one bronze medal. It is the first time in 20 years that Korea has won more than three medals at an individual world championship since the 2003 Paris Games, when the team won a silver in the men’s singles and a bronze in the men’s and women’s doubles.