Korea at 1980 English Junior Open

The Korea Republic in Worthing (back) Han Sangkook, Ahn Byeongjun, Kim Kitaek, Yoon Sangmun, Yoo Gyeongseok, Ahn Jaehyung, Park Docheon (front – players) Shin Deukhwa, Kim Jeongmi, Ji Namyoung (Photo: Harvey Webb)

Deciding that it was an opportunity to have a spring clean and throw out unwanted items, Harvey Webb found a precious box of memorabilia, including photographs and newspaper cuttings dating back to the 1960s. One photograph in particular caught the eye; the visit of the team from the Korea Republic to Worthing in 1980 to compete in the English Junior Open.

Leader of the group was Han Sangkook, who sadly passed away earlier this year on Friday 20th March; notable names in the group included Kim Kaitaek, Ahn Jaehyung and Park Docheon. At the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, Kim Kaitaek emerged the men’s singles runner up; Ahn Jaehyung partnered Kim Taeksoo to men’s doubles bronze. Park Docheon is the current Chair of the Technical and Umpires Committee for the Asian Table Tennis Union.

In 1984, the Koreans returned when the tournament was held in Portsmouth; once again there were notable names in action. Yoo Namkyu, the Seoul gold medallist, won the boys’ singles title; Hyun Junghwa, crowned world champion in 1993, emerged the girls’ singles winner.