By James Crook

168994150May 18 - North Korean pair Kim Hyok Bong and Kim Jong pulled off a historic victory in the final of the mixed doubles at the World Table Tennis Championships in Paris to secure their country's first ever title in the event - made even more significant by the fact their opponents were from South Korea.

The high-profile event was being monitored by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who are due later this year to debate the request from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) to add mixed doubles to the programme for Rio 2016.

Kim Hyok and Kim Jong defeated Lee Sangsu and Park Youngsook 4-2, but only after it looked like they were going to blow it.

After racing into a three game lead, the North Korean pair began to crumble under the pressure to lose the following two, and a comeback from Lee and Park looked a possibility.

It was, thought, the North Koreans that prevailed as they won the sixth game to ensure that the Heydusek Cup would make its way to their nation for the first time in history.

Emotions were clearly running high for the newly-crowned world champions as Kim Jong struggled to hold back tears as the national anthem rang round the 12,000-seat Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy.

168993959Kim Jong and Kim Hyok Bong receive their medals in an emotional ceremony following their mixed doubles world title win

"My tears during the national anthems were tears of pleasure as we were able to live up to everyone's expectations." said Kim Jong.

"This is a great surprise; we have always dreamed about this, and are so glad it is now a reality." added Kim Hyok Bong.

The result marks the first time a non-Chinese pair have claimed the title since South Korean duo Yoo Nam-Kyu and Hyun Jung-Hwa won it in Dortmund in 1989, and is North Korea's first world table tennis title for 36 years.

They are also the first non-Chinese pair to win any world title since 2003, when Austria's Werner Schlager won the men's singles.

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