DAEJEON, A North Korean teenager defeated his South Korean opponent in the first all-Korea match at an international table tennis event here on Tuesday.
19-year-old Ham Yu-song beat Park Gang-hyeon 4-2 (9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9) in the men's under-21 singles qualifications match at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Platinum Korea Open in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul.
Ham is one of 16 North Korean players competing at the Korea Open, which will run through Sunday. This is North Korea's first appearance at an ITTF event in South Korea.
With hundreds of South Korean fans at Hanbat Gymnasium cheering on both athletes, Ham, ranked 585th in the world, and Park, world No. 221, traded the first four games before Ham closed out the match by winning the final two games.
The Koreas have assembled unified teams in the men's and women's doubles, and the mixed doubles. The two mixed doubles tandems, Jang Woo-jin (South)-Cha Hyo-sim (North) and Choe Il (North) and Yoo Eun-chong (South), will be in action later Tuesday in the qualifications.
Source: Yonhap News Agency