Asian Table Tennis Championships: Lee Sangsu makes history on golden day for Korea

The men's third seed triumphed by defeating Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei, while fellow Koreans Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin soared to victory in the women’s doubles competition on the final day of an event where Japan also triumphed.

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by 2017 Getty Images

Lee Sangsu made history for Korea on the final day of the 2021 ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championships in Qatar.

He became the first Korean man ever to win the men's singles title at the continental event, edging out Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei in a thrilling five set final.

From the outset it was clear that the battle for gold would be hotly contested after Chuang took the first game 12-10 in under 13 minutes.

Lee rallied hard and fast in the second and third to try and swing momentum back in his favour, and to some success.

However, the number four seed quelled attempts from the Korean to close out the match in the fourth, as he levelled the score 2-2, pushing the championship final into a fifth set decider.

The final game was as tense as it was thrilling with neither player taking command. An umpiring call froze the the duel at 6-6 before Lee seized the initiative, and the scoreline, to eventually see off Chuang: 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 8-11.

Shin Yubin and Jeon Jihee make it a golden day for Korea

The women's doubles final was far more comfortable for eventual victors Shin Yubin and Jeon Jihee.

A storming start, which saw the Korean duo go eight points clear of their rivals, demonstrated the intent they had brought to the title game.

A lapse in the second briefly allowed Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching back into the game, but Shin and Jeon quickly took back control of proceedings.

They banked a comprehensive six championship points in the final game and only needed one to attempt to seal the deal, winning 11-5, 7-11, 11-3, 11-4.

Shin Yubin
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Results from the Asian Table Tennis Championships

On Monday, Japanese paddler Hina Hayata had a day to remember after she clinched both the women’s singles and mixed doubles titles in Doha.

Hayata came from a game down to beat 17-year-old Shin Yubin 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 in the final of the women’s competition.

In the mixed event, Hayata, and partner Shunshuke Togami, downed second seeds Jang Woo-jin and Jeon Ji-hee, in a similar fashion. The Japanese duo overturned a first game deficit to take the win: 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9.

With one championship gold medal in hand, Togami then went on to claim his second of the day with victory in the men’s doubles competition. He and partner Yukiya Uda won a tightly fought contest against Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon: 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9.

With the People’s Republic of China choosing not to participate in the competition due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions the doors were open for new team champions.

In the men’s competition Korea Republic emerged as title winners for the first time in 25 years. They beat Chinese Taipei 2-1 to the crown.

Japan’s women put on a faultless display in the team final event against Korea Republic to clinch the title; they did not drop a single match in the showdown for the top prize.