“Isn’t it a competition with a longer history than any other competition? I really want to come back to this historic event.”
Coach Hori Godai (40, NTT Nishi-Nihon)먹튀검증, who led the Japanese team to the 101st Dong-A Ilbo National Soft Tennis Tournament, said this on the 10th after the participation schedule was completed. The Dong-A Ilbo is a tournament that boasts a history that is 23 years longer than the oldest soft tennis tournament in Japan, the Tennohai (天皇杯, Japan Championship).
In the Dong-A Ilbo ahead of the transition to an international competition, teams from four countries including Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Mongolia participated this year. Among them, the Japanese national team defeated the Korean team (players) in all events they participated in, from the men’s general team event to individual doubles and singles, eventually winning the championship.
Toshiki Uematsu (25, NTT Nishi-Nihon), who paired with Hayato Funemizu (26, Domon Club) and won the doubles championship, said, “The Japan-Korea match is a match that makes us feel special, too,” adding, “Hangzhou Asia (opening in September) I look forward to a serious match with Korea in the game.” Soft tennis is not an official Olympic sport, so the Asian Games are known as the most prestigious competitions.
Funemizu won the singles title at the 2015 Japanese Championships as the youngest ever (18 years and 113 days), and then signed a sponsorship contract with Yonex in 2019, earning the title of ‘Soft Tennis No. 1 Professional Player’. At the Mungyeong International Soft Tennis Court in North Gyeongsang Province, where this tournament was held, elementary, middle and high school players stood in a long line to get an autograph from Hunemizu.
Funemizu said, “In Japan, I have never participated in a tournament where players of all ages participate at the same time.” I feel like I have become that kind of person for these kids now, so I feel I have to work harder.” Kim Dong-Hun was known as the ‘Korean Captain’ by winning a total of three gold medals in the Asian Games.
The current Korean national team ace is Kim Tae-min (27, Suwon City Hall). Funemizu said, “It’s a pity that Kim Tae-min only participated in the team event this time, so we couldn’t face each other.” Funemizu and Kim Tae-min have known each other since high school and are ‘best friends’ who teach each other their own language. Uematsu, who has been working with Funemizu for 7 years as a one-year junior at Waseda University, said, “My favorite thing in Korea is ‘Twice’. He once took Funemizu-hyung to a concert” and introduced the friendship between the two, “But Funemizu-hyung said, ‘I like Kim Tae-min better’”.
Funemizu said, “Soft tennis is said to be an unpopular event, but if we work together with world-class players including Kim Tae-min, we will be able to change the atmosphere. We will work together to become a more valuable event on the international stage. In that sense, I will definitely come back to Dong-A Ilbo.”