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Table Tennis: Korea Republic raise spirits at World Team Championships

Korea Republic enjoyed a second day of success in the pool stage at the Zen-Noh World Team Championships in Tokyo. Photo: Remy Gros / ITTF.

Korea Republic enjoyed a second day of success at the World Team Championships in Tokyo. Photo: Remy Gros / ITTF.

April 30, 2014: Korea Republic dominated their opponents at the Zen-Noh World Team Championships in Tokyo on Tuesday, with both the men’s and women’s teams remaining unbeaten after day two of the tournament.


The men’s team defeated Spain 3-0, while the women’s team beat France 3-0 to put Monday’s near upset by the Netherlands firmly behind them.


For the Korea Republic players, a strong performance means more than just advancing to the knockout stages. The players wore black ribbons on their tracksuits in memory of those lost in the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster.


Joo Sae-hyuk, the top-ranked player in the Korea Republic men’s team, said: “There was a tragic accident in our country that caused us sorrow. We want to give our best at the World Team Championships for our country.”


Seo Hyo-won, her country’s top-ranked women’s player, added: “We were all deeply saddened by what happened. We want to get a good result in this tournament and bring hope and encouragement to the Korean people.”


The top seeds in the other groups also won, as China finished the day without dropping a game. The Germany men’s team beat Denmark 3-0, while the women’s team defeated Ukraine 3-0 and the Czech Republic 3-1.


The 3,000-strong home crowd had much more to cheer. Recovering from yesterday’s shock defeat to Greece, the Japan men’s team emerged victorious against Romania, winning the Group C clash 3-0.


The Japan women’s team also continued their good run in the tournament, defeating both the USA and Hungary 3-0. “We are in good spirits and have a good flow,” said Sayaka Hirano, 29.


Not to be outdone by the home crowd, boisterous DPR Korea fans filled the Yoyogi National Gymnaisum with cheers, chants and songs.


Galvanised by the support, the DPR Korea men’s defeated Belarus 3-0 in their group round robin match, arguably the upset of day two. The DPR Korea’s women’s team were also able to maintain their unbeaten streak in the competition with a 3-1 triumph over Romania.


Ri Mi-gyong, her country’s second-ranked player, said: “The crowd lifted our spirits during the match, which in turn helped our performance.”


The World Team Championships is the largest in ITTF history, with 144 men’s and 95 women’s teams participating.


Source: ITTF

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