[패럴림픽]First gold medal in table tennis men’s singles… Joo Young-dae “I cried while singing the national anthem”

Youngdae Joo. (Photo = Yonhap News)

[이데일리 스타in 임정우 기자] Joo Young-dae (48, Gyeongnam Paralympic Association) became the first gold medalist of the Korean team at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Joo Young-dae defeated Kim Hyun-wook (26, Ulsan Sports Association) in the men’s table tennis singles (sports grade TT1) final of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on the 30th, set score 3-1 (11-8 13-11 2-11 12-10) ) and climbed to the top.

While Nam Nam-won (55, world ranking 3rd), who had already won a bronze medal in this class, was watching from the audience, both players calmly entered the game. The battle between Joo Young-dae and Kim Hyun-wook was fierce. In the first set, Joo Young-dae took an 8-4 lead and overpowered the baseline, but Kim Hyun-wook’s counterattack was not easy. However, Joo Young-dae did not waver. He gradually built up points and won the first set 11-8.

In the second set, Joo Young-dae was on the verge of losing as Kim Hyeon-wook led him 8-10. However, Joo Young-dae put his skillful skills at the forefront and took two points and entered the deuce, and after a close battle, he took two sets 13-11. Joo Young-dae, who gave up the 3rd set, showed concentration once again in the 4th set. In a tense match, Joo Young-dae finished the 4th set 12-10 and secured the gold medal.

Joo Young-dae, who showed extraordinary talent in sports from an early age, entered the Department of Physical Education at Gyeongsang National University, dreaming of becoming a physical education teacher. However, he became disabled in a car accident in the summer of 1994 and fell into such a hardship that it was difficult to get out of the house for four years.

Through PC communication, Joo Young-dae recovered his body and mind little by little by sharing the pain with the handicapped, and was reconnected with sports in 2008.

After working as a computer web designer, he started a new life after being exposed to table tennis as a rehabilitation exercise at a welfare center. He wore the Taegeuk mark at the 2014 Asian Games for the Disabled in Incheon, and started activities as a sports administrator for the disabled, such as the secretary-general of the Gyeongnam Table Tennis Association for the Disabled. Joo Young-dae, who won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games, achieved her dream of gold medal in five years.

After the match, Joo Young-dae said, “It was good to be able to do something I couldn’t do in Rio. I was moved to sing along to the national anthem,” he said. “It felt really good to see the three national flags go up.”

In the semifinals on the 28th, Nam Nam-won, who fought to advance to the final with Joo Young-dae, even won the bronze medal, and Korea swept the gold, silver and bronze medals in the singles TT1 event. TT1 has long been known as the representative sport of table tennis for the disabled in Korea and a long-standing pride after Song Nam Song won his first gold medal in men’s singles at the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympic Games.

This gold medal is the first individual singles gold medal in 21 years since the 2000 Sydney Games by Lee Hae-gon, who participated in this competition six times in a row from the 1988 Seoul Games to the 2008 Beijing Games. This is the first time to sweep gold, silver and bronze medals in one class of Paralympic Paralympic table tennis.

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