International Table Tennis Returns to DPR Korea
Courtesy of ITTF
International table tennis has returned to DPR Korea for the first time in 36 years, with qualification rounds for the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Pyongyang Open starting today, July 29, 2015.
The last time an international table tennis event was held in the country was the 1979 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships, which was also held in the nation’s capital of Pyongyang.
DPR Korea Table Tennis Association Secretary General JU Jong Chol stated: “We are all very pleased to welcome our international table tennis friends again to play in this big international event. We look forward to them enjoying our country and adding a new chapter to our rich table tennis heritage.”
The favorite to take the women’s title will be the number one seed and local hero RI Myong Sun from DPR Korea.
The 23 year old who was a part of the DPR Korea team which won silver at the 2015 World Team Cup stated: “It is exciting for me and all the DPR Korea players to be able to play in such a big international event in our home country. We have shown the world how good we are, now it is time to show our own people our table tennis skills against top international players. It will mean a lot to me to win this event in my home country.”
Table tennis is fast becoming one of the most popular sports in the country with KIM Hyok-Bong & KIM Jong, becoming the 2013 Mixed Doubles World Champions and the 2014 Asian Games Gold medalists, which has rocketed them to national stardom.
The Pyongyang Open will be the 13th stop on the GAC Group 2015 World Tour, and a valuable opportunity for the world’s best table tennis players to gain priceless Road to Lisbon points to qualify for the year ending World Tour Grand Final in Portugal.
Qualification stage runs for the next two days, with the main draw beginning on July 31 and the finals on Sunday August 2.
The final two days of the event will be streamed live on ITTF’s YouTube channel, which has been specially opened to promote the event world wide.
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