Korea beat Brazil 3-0 in the quarter-finals earlier today at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Even though China still had to beat France later in the evening to reach the semi-finals, no South Korean player expected to see anyone other than China.
Lee Sang-su said it doesn’t matter who will play his team, because the goal has always been to win the ultimate prize.
“We came to Tokyo to win gold. And I think there’s absolutely no one we can’t beat,” Lee said. “The same goes for China. If we can execute what we have prepared, then we can beat China.”
China has won 28 of 33 gold medals in table tennis so far. In international team matches, South Korea have beaten China only once in 26 games. This only victory came in 1995.
Don’t tell that to South Korean players in Tokyo now. Jeoung Young-sik said Chinese players are human, like everyone else.
“I think we can have a surprise victory if we prepare for the match as best we can,” said Jeoung, who lost to Chinese world number one Fan Zhendong in the individual event quarter-finals. . “The team event consists of a meeting of three players.”
Against Brazil, Lee and Jeoung won their first doubles match 3-0 (11-6, 11-2, 12-10) against Vitor Ishiy and Gustavo Tsuboi. Then Jang Woo-jin stepped in for the singles opener and knocked out Hugo Calderano 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 12-10). Jang lost to Calderano in the round of 16 of the individual competition and took his revenge on Monday.
“I was still getting used to Olympic competition at the time, and I was rushing every shot,” Jang said of his previous loss.
“Today I was more relaxed. Even before the game, I felt like I was going to win.”
As for the prospect of facing China, Jang said, “I think the pressure will be on the Chinese players as the chased. We will be relaxed.” (Yonhap)