“I’ll give the director an Olympic medal.” Women’s table tennis tight priest, more ‘chemistry’ in Paris

February 23, 2024 | by

Although the world championship journey was completed, the “chemistry” of Jeon Ji-hee (32, Mirae Asset Securities) and Oh Kwang-hun (53) of the women’s table tennis team shone.

The women’s table tennis team consisting of Jeon Ji-hee, Shin Yoo-bin (20, Korean Air), Lee Si-on (28, Samsung Life Insurance), Yoon Hyo-bin (26, Mirae Asset Securities) and Lee Eun-hye (29, Korean Air) lost against China, the world’s No. 1 ranking, 0-3 (0-30-30-3) in the quarterfinals of the women’s finals tournament of the BNK Busan Bank 2024 Busan World Table Tennis Championships held at BEXCO Choppy Hall (first stadium) in Haeundae-gu, Busan at 5 p.m. on the 22nd.

The women’s journey to the Busan World Table Tennis Championships came to an end on the day. The women’s team ranking fifth in the world easily confirmed its advance to the round of 16 by winning the first match against Italy with a match score of 3-0 on the first day of the tournament, followed by the match score of 3-0 against Malaysia (3-0) on the 17th, the match against Puerto Rico (3-1) on the 18th, and the match against Cuba (3-0) on the 19th.

In the round of 16 against Brazil, ranked 14th in the world, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, the team advanced to the top round with a match score of 3-1 (2-3 3-0 3-0 3-0). As a result, Korea was able to secure a team competition ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics, which is given to the team that advanced to the quarterfinals.

The matchups consisted of Lee Si-on (44th), Jeon Ji-hee (21st), and Shin Yu-bin (8th) in the quarterfinals, and the Korean team had to face off against the “world’s strongest” lineup of Sun Ying-sha (world’s No. 1), Chen Meng (3rd), and Wang Widi (2nd). Unlike previous matches, Lee, who was the first runner, was shaken by the strict serve of the world’s strongest Sun Ying-sha in the early stage, and suffered a crushing defeat in the first set 1-11. Showing his willingness to fight back, Lee scored three points in a row in the second set, but displayed his performance improved. However, in the third set, he scored the first point through an attack that poked the corner, but gave up 11 points in a row. Eventually, Lee retreated to the set score of 0-3.

Jeon Ji-hee, the eldest player in the team, made the opponent team nervous based on her bold attack. After losing the first set 5-11, Jeon was shaken by Chen Meng’s left-right attack in the second set, but continued to follow suit without widening the gap. In the third set, Jeon took a 3-0 lead, receiving cheers. However, as the team failed to wrap up, Jeon suffered a sweep loss.

Korea’s last runner was Shin Yu-bin, whom Oh had high expectations for as “Ace” on the previous day. As if to make up for the two consecutive losses in the preliminary match against Puerto Rico and the round of 16 teams against Brazil, he displayed light physical activity from the beginning of the first set. However, Korea was on the brink of collapse, as evidenced by the loss of the first and second sets as well. Shin got off to a shaky start, losing 0-4 early in the third set. Still, he chased after the team like an ace, and reached the game point (10-9) for the first time in this game. However, Wang finished the match 12-10 after deuce, ultimately securing Korea’s defeat.

Although South Korea had to be satisfied with its advance to the quarterfinals, it boasted a “one-team” throughout the tournament with fantastic breath. Players who played in the game played thinking about their teammates on the bench, and players who did not play cheered for their sweaty performances. Coach Oh praised the team’s victory over Puerto Rico on the 18th, saying, “It was a result of all five players working together as a team.”

The atmosphere of the match did not calm down just because one of them lost. In the match against Puerto Rico, Shin lost the doubles 0-3, but her eldest sister Jeon Ji-hee succeeded in revenge in four matches, making it seem as if nothing had happened. At the time, Jeon said, “This is a team match, not an individual match. Three of us win together. I was able to play with ease as I watched the match and (Shin) Yu-bin set up a countermeasure, and (Lee) Xion also won, so I was able to play with ease. In the end, we won.” 고소득알바

It is not just good chemistry between players. Oh and his players are also close. “The reason I was able to do well was because I had (former) Ji-hee and (Shin) Yu-bin, so I was able to play without any pressure,” said Lee, who played in previous matches. Also, I think (Yoon) Hyo-bin and (Lee) Eun-hye supported me and gave me strength. Oh also led me well with good leadership,” he said, expressing his gratitude to his teammates including the coach.

Oh always emphasized “one team.” “It’s fun to be a team. If you push a certain player, he can go out and lose, or if he wins,” he said. “Since it’s not a team alone, I said let’s work together to do well.”

Oh said, “I felt sorry for the players. I met with China early because of my mistake.” The draw for the tournament was conducted in the order that the top-ranked teams in Group 1 and Group 2, which are the first and second seeds, are placed at the top and bottom of the list, and the top-ranked teams in Group 3 and 4 are drawn again to enter either of the top-ranked teams in Group 1 or 2. The top-ranked teams in Group 5 to 8 were also divided into two halves through a draw.

Oh picked No.8 and was placed in a matchup below China at the tournament matchup held on Tuesday. It was a scenario in which he could face China in the quarterfinals. “I picked all the best ones so far. But it didn’t work out on the 20th,” Oh said with an awkward smile. Oh reportedly blamed himself to the players, saying, “I think my wrist is not good.” Then, Jeon Ji-hee said, “No, it’s because of our ranking. We will do well.” Oh said, “I almost cried because I was touched.”

Oh has been working with Jeon for three years now. “In the first year, Jeon talked about mental and technical issues as he was not feeling well. Last year (2023) we had skills and connected.” In fact, Jeon was able to win a gold medal in women’s doubles in a group with Shin at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.

Oh and Jun Ji-hee are now aiming for the Olympics. “There’s something that Jun Ji-hee always said. I texted him in the middle, “I think the Olympics is the last time and I will give him a medal as a gift,” Oh said. “I was very thankful for that, so I paid a lot of attention.”

Jeon Ji-hee herself said after the game on the 22nd, “If we had been able to improve our team’s ranking before, we could have met at a higher level, but it’s a pity that we couldn’t. It’s the Olympics now, and I think we should make an effort to raise our rankings individually so that the coach doesn’t get stressed (from the draw). I don’t know if I can participate in the Olympics, but I will set that goal for now.”


View all

view all