It was a historic silver medal for the ‘batchmate duo’ who rose to the occasion.
South Korean women’s table tennis sensations Shin Yoo-bin (19, Korean Air) and Jeon Jeon-hee (31, Mirae Asset Securities-ranked 12th in doubles) lost 0-3 (8-11 7-11 10-12) to China’s Wang Yidi (26) and Chen Meng (29) in the women’s doubles final of the 2023 ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) Individual World Championships in Durban, South Africa, on 28 August. The pair of Shin Yubin-Jeon Hee, who had caused a stir the previous day with a 3-0 victory over the world number one pair of Sun Yingxia (23)-Wang Manyu (24) of China, were unable to cross the ‘Great Wall’ twice.먹튀검증
It is the first time in 30 years that a South Korean woman has won a silver medal or better in any individual event at a World Championships since Hyun Jeong-hwa, 54, head coach of the Korea Horse Society Table Tennis Team, won the women’s singles title in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1993. The pair, who are both in the Year of the Monkey zodiac sign, shared the silver medal after overcoming setbacks with a spirit of determination, saying 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. This was due to a stress fracture in Shin’s right wrist.
Hailed as a ‘table tennis prodigy’, Shin emerged as a surprise star at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he was affectionately nicknamed ‘Piyak’ for the sound he made when he scored a point, which resembled a chick’s cry. However, after the Olympics that year, Shin suffered one of the most devastating wrist injuries for a table tennis player when he was forced to compete at the Asian and World Championships. He eventually underwent surgery in May last year to put pins in his carpal bones, and in September he endured further surgery to remove bone fragments.
Throughout the painful process, Shin remained focused on his training. Without the use of her wrist, she trained with weights to build up her lower body strength, which paid off at the World Championships.
Shin’s doubles partner, Jeon Jeon-hee, is a naturalised player from Langfang, Hebei, 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 naturalisation, and in 2011 she took up the flag and became Zhen Minwei.
A bronze medallist 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.
“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 perfect shape, but days like this come along.” “Shin Yubin played a good role as a maker (of points) with her tight defence, while 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 pair’s performances at the tournament have also boosted their medal prospects for 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 losing 0-3 (11-13 6-11 5-11) to China’s Fan Zhen-dong (26) and Wang Chu-chin (23). This is the first time Korean table tennis has reached the men’s doubles final at two consecutive World Championships since Houston, USA, in 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 Championships 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.