At the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, then 17-year-old Shin Yu-bin was at the center of the media spotlight and called a "table tennis prodigy."
Despite the attention, she ended her Olympic debut empty-handed, leaving Japan without a medal.
Over the two years, she has risen to the world No. 1 in the women's doubles but had only one gold medal in the Asian table tennis championship competition in 2021. She finished runner-up in this year's world championships.
At the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, finally, she grabbed a medal in the top color after winning the women's doubles against North Korea. It is the 19-year-old player's first gold in a multisport competition.
"It's so amazing. I have a gold medal at home," Shin said at the mixed zone.
But it was not an easily accomplished task.
Before coming to Hangzhou, Shin suffered an ankle injury that had forced her to go through a long rehab for more than a year.
Luckily, the 19th Asian Games was postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the one year gave her the extra time to recover.
"I wouldn't be here because of the injury," she said. "Fortunately, luck came to me and gave me a chance to compete here. I felt grateful every time while training and competing. And I had good results. I won't forget this Asian Games."
Now, she is targeting the Paris Olympics next year to add another precious gold to her collection.
"I know my Paris appearance is not decided yet. If I get a chance to compete, I will do my best to work hard as I've done so far," she said. "If I go to the Olympics, I will play with no regret."
Source: Yonhap News Agency