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Spotlight: May 2016 – Joo Saehyuk

Joo Saehyuk - photo by the ITTF– photo provided courtesy of the ITTF

Joo Saehyuk is SD Sport’s spotlight feature for May, following his triumph at the Croatian Open.

36-year-old Joo was born in the capital of Korea Republic, Seoul in 1980. Joo was drafted in to the national team in 2001, and a year later he picked up a silver medal at the World Team Championships.

In May 2003 Joo participated at the World Championships in the Men’s Singles event, where he impressively reached the final only missing out on the gold medal to Austria’s Werner Schlager in a tight encounter. Since then Joo has gone on to win silver medals for Korea at two World Team Championships (2006 and 2008), and the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Asian Games have also been a happy hunting ground for Joo winning two bronze medals in the Singles competitions at the 2010 and 2014 tournaments, and four silvers in the Team category (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014).

Joo is well known for his defensive style, with the ability to consistently return his opponent’s attacks and hit back on the counter leading him to being named as one of the best defenders of all time, and also making him a fan favourite.

Since 2006, Joo Saehyuk has been a regular fixture in the top 20 of the ITTF World Rankings with the Korean’s personal best rank of 5th coming in March 2012.

May 2016 saw Joo win the Men’s Singles gold medal at the Croatian Open in Zagreb, after beating his fellow compatriot Jung Youngsik in the final.

Joo Saehyuk vs Fan Shengpeng (2015 Chinese Super League) – video kindly shared by ttlondon2012