“This time, we will win the gold medal not by playing ‘live and let live’ but by playing ‘die’.”
For Jang Woo-jin (Mirae Asset Securities) and Lim Jong-hoon (Korea Exchange), South Korea’s men’s table tennis “ace doubles team,” 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 the up-and-coming Swedish pair of Matthias Falk-Christian Karlsson.
The Chinese pair, always considered the ‘0’ favorites to win the title, had suffered back-to-back shock losses to Falk and Karlsson in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
It is very rare for a Chinese pair to never meet in a major table tennis tournament until the final.
However, such luck was with the pair of Zhang Wu Jin and Lim Jong Hoon.
At the time, it looked like the pair could win the gold medal if they played as well as they had been playing.
However, they went 1-4 and had to settle for silver.
The pair have since teamed up as a doubles team 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 semifinals of the 2023 Individual World Championships in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday (July 26).
The pair pumped their fists in the air and roared after making 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 finals 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, but it’s a shame that I didn’t,” said Lim Jong-hoon, “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 win one more game and take home 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 a men’s singles or men’s doubles gold medal 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.스포츠토토
It’s going to be a tough fight. Their final opponents are China’s world No. 1 pair of Fan Zhenndong 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 try my best, I’m just going to come out with a result.”