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The “Power of Love” in Ping-Pong

Posted December. 26, 2004 22:43,   


The “ping-pong couple” put on an incredible performance.

Kim Seung-hwan (25, Posdata) and an ex-member of Hong Kong’s national table tennis team, Guo Fang Fang (24, KRA) are the first “couple players” in the history of Korean professional ping-pong and “the second Sino-Korean ping-pong couple” after Ahn Jae-hyung and Jao Zemin. Mr. and Mrs. Kim landed in the semi-finals of the mixed doubles in the 58th Korean National Table Tennis Championships, displaying “extraordinary team play.”

They won a come-from-behind victory against the team (Samsung Life Insurance Co.) of Kim Gun-hwan and Mun Hyung-jung by three to two, after playing a full game (6-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11), in the 1/8 finals of the mixed doubles that were held on December 26 at Eumsung Gym in Chuncheongbuk-do.

Kim Seung-hwan and Guo Fang Fang met at the Vietnam Table Tennis Open in July of 2000, fell in love with each other, and registered their marriage in February 2004 in Korea. In fact, up until now, Guo did not obtain Korean citizenship and was not allowed to participate in domestic games. However, the Korea Table Tennis Association decided to approve of Guo’s participation in this year’s Korean championships, and now the couple is playing as the first Korean married doubles team.

Kim and Guo appeared to have had a fairly limited amount of time for practice together because they belong to different teams. They barely managed to win their game against Cho Ji-hun (Nongsim Samdasoo) and Kim Hye-yeon (Korean Air) in the first round of 32. Nonetheless, as the championships went on, they began displaying good team play and in the round of 16, completely defeated Seo Young-gyun (Nongsim Samdasoo) and Park Kyung-ae (Korean Air), 3-0.

In the round of eight, Kim and Guo faced another critical moment against Kim Gun-hwan and Moon Hyung-jung when they lost the first and second sets to Kim and Moon, but they swept the next three sets in a row and fulfilled their potential by winning the game.

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com