The new talent from Korea emerged in the international arena in 2022, and he might be the next big thing.
Korean table tennis has produced many well-known and accomplished names, such as the Olympic champions Ryu Seung-min and Yoo Nam-kyu, and World Championships medalists Kim Taek-soo and Oh Sang-eun. Koreans have strong traditions in table tennis, and occasionally, we see a rise in very talented young players. The 11-year-old Lee Seungsoo is one of them.
While he is already a well-known name in Korea and has appeared on TV many times, including playing a one-set showdown against Olympic champion Ryu Seung-min, in Europe, Lee Seungsoo’s name was unknown until May of 2022.
In Berlin, the Korean prodigy made his debut in the WTT Youth Contender, and it was an instant success. He competed against older opponents and became the champion in the U13 event. Lee Seungsoo repeated this success in the WTT Youth Contender Wladyslawowo in Poland, winning the U13 event and reaching the semi-finals in the U15 age group.
As the young Korean continued his journey in the WTT-organized tournaments in the second part of 2022, he competed in U15 and U17 age groups, twice reaching the semi-finals stage, and twice playing in the final of the U15 group. Overall, his results in WTT Youth Contenders have been very consistent in 2022, and it is no surprise that Lee Seungsoo is the World Ranking leader in the U13 group.
Looking at how the 11-year-old Korean has competed against older opponents so far, it is fair to assume that within the next few years, we might see his debut on the senior level. While Chinese table tennis coaches prefer to develop their talents in the local arena until the age of 16-17 without sending them to tournaments on the professional circuit, Japanese and Koreans are less strict in this regard.
There has been a successful example of Tomokazu Harimoto, who made his debut very early and soon cemented his place among the leaders of international table tennis. Of course, each career develops differently, and Lee Seungsoo might not take the same path as Harimoto, but it is clear that the talent is there. Hopefully, the progress will continue, and we will see another exciting player competing against the current table tennis stars.