South Korea claimed the gold medal from table tennis for the first time in 21 years at the Asian Games on Monday, winning the first all-Korean final at the 19th edition of the continental event in China.
Jeon Ji-hee and Shin Yu-bin, the world No. 1 women's doubles duo, defeated North Koreans Cha Su-yong and Pak Su-gyong 4-1 (11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 11-3) in the women's doubles final at Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium in Hangzhou.
The title, which came on the last day of table tennis matches, put an end to the country's gold medal drought from table tennis since 2002, when South Korea won two doubles titles.
It was the first gold medal match between South and North Koreans in any sport at the Hangzhou Asian Games. There were some all-Korean face-offs in some events, including women's football, judo and boxing.
And it was the first table tennis inter-Korean gold medal match since the 1990 Asian Games, when the South Korean team beat its North Korean counterparts.
With the women's doubles gold, South Korea ended China's sweep of all seven medal events in ping pong. The host raked up six golds in the sport, except for the women's doubles.
And South Korea will leave China with a total of eight medals in table tennis, finishing in the top three in every competition: silver in the men's team and men's doubles, and a bronze each in the women's singles and women's team, two bronzes in the mixed doubles, another bronze in the men's singles, and gold in the women's doubles.
The South Koreans took the first game in an easy manner. They took four straight points to get a 7-3 lead from 3-3 and extended the lead to close the game 11-6.
From the beginning of the second game, South Korea took the early lead and rallied to take the game 11-4 in six minutes.
The third game went tightly as the North Korean duo caused trouble for Jeon and Shin, and took a 5-3 lead. But Shin's effective forehand made the opponent's ball hit the net, tying things up at 6-6, and South Korea soon got a 7-6 lead. But their miscues let the North Koreans take the game 12-10 after deuce.
The two made mistakes in the fourth game and won the game the hard way.
But the two regained their rhythm in the fifth game to start the game with an early 8-2 lead. Then, they allowed only one point to win the gold medal.
Source: Yonhap News Agency