Knowing when to quit and when to carry on is hard for anyone and even more so for an athlete. You may know that you have the skills to continue, but if your heart isn’t in it anymore, then the intense demand for a sport may be too much. Minhyung Jee may live and play for Australia now, but she was born and raised in South Korea. It was during a break from the game when she traveled to Australia and there re-discovered a passion for the game. Really, if it weren’t for her self-imposed break, Jee may have never returned to the sport. Find out more about what makes Minhyung Jee such an incredible person while playing tennis and while simply being herself.
Minhyung Jee was born on January 5, 1987, in Incheon, South Korea. She started to play table tennis when she was just 10 years old and loved the sport so much she decided to keep playing.
While playing for South Korea, Jee traveled to tournaments around the world, including the Bennelong Cup in Australia. However, she was so focused on practicing and playing and she didn’t have a lot of time to explore or enjoy the country. It was only on a subsequent vacation that she went back to the country. It was a time when she wanted a break from competing, so she and her husband went on a working holiday to both enjoy the scenery and practice their English.
The time living in Queensland, Australia, was beneficial to Jee, both for personal and work reasons. Not only did she get time to focus on herself, but she rediscovered a love for table tennis and the community. Shortly after, Minhyung Jee and her husband ended up moving permanently to Queensland, and she now competes for Australia.
While Minhyung Jee does have a Facebook page, it is not updated very regularly. Still, there are a few candid pictures that give you more of an insight into her life. She is not active on Instagram but the ITTF Oceania page has some great action shots of Jee.
Minhyung Jee is one of those athletes that seem to listen to herself and knows when she needs some downtime. It can be especially hard for athletes to find the motivation to keep going forward, so the fact that Jee is open about taking a break, in her case, to travel from South Korea to Australia, is refreshing.
This was a time when she wasn’t sure about continuing to play table tennis. But, judging from her rankings and her tournament wins, the break paid off. She has a new lease on life and continues to showcase her talent and drive.
Since moving to Australia in 2016 and becoming part of the national team, Minhyung Jee has been unstoppable. In fact, she has yet to lose any of her matches. Her mentality around the sport is where she draws inspiration as she recognizes it isn’t enough to simply be technically good at table tennis.
In 2022, Jee earned a place on the Australian team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. In the Women’s Doubles event, she won a silver medal.
Jee’s career highlights include playing and winning at the Australia National Championships. Here are a few honorable mentions:
- Won gold in 2018 for Women’s Singles
- Wong gold in 2019 for Women’s Singles
If learning more about what Minhyung Jee has accomplished is inspiring, we suggest checking out the world of table tennis. It really is a fun sport that can quickly morph from a hobby to a passion. To begin with, start with something simple like the NIBIRU SPORT Ping Pong Paddles Set. It has everything you need, including four paddles, six balls, and even a retractable net.
Those that want to go even further may be dismayed if they don’t have anyone to practice with. The good news, you can check out this list of the best ping pong robots. These smart, powerful machines can help you improve your game at any time of the day.
Minhyung Jee's early training was relatively traditional as she learned to use normal pimples on her board. However, she had problems with receiving serves and realized her backhand technique needed more work. As a result, her coach recommended she switch to a paddle with long pimples. This change was made when she was just 11, but the decision proved to be the right one as she has had a long, active career.
For training, Jee works her entire body to stay nimble on the court. This includes footwork drills as well as concentrating on pivoting while playing. She acknowledges that while her forehand is her weapon, it is less consistent than her backhand, so she has to continually practice so that it becomes more fluid.
As Jee can attest, having the right footwear is key to playing table tennis. As soon as you want to make the leap from recreational games to serious play, finding the right shoes is necessary. This list of the best table tennis shoes is a good starting point as it has suggestions within a range of price points.
Since the Fall of 2022, Minhyung Jee has always raised her ranking, keeping it higher than previously, according to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). She has one of her stronger rankings and shows a new level of play than at other times in her career. While Jee did quite well in the mid-2000s, her play slowed down between 2018 and 2021. Now that she has found a home in Australia, here’s hoping she can settle into a productive table tennis career.
As far as Australian rankings go, Minhyung Jee is ranked number two for female athletes as of December 2022. She is behind only Yangzi Lu. This could mean securing more team spots in international competitions and even a bid for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Athletes may seem super-human, but they are just like all of us. There will come a time when they need to rest and re-examine their priorities. It took traveling to a different country for Minhyung Jee to realize just how important table tennis is to her life. Now that has been embraced by a new country, her playing ability has skyrocketed. Her performances are amazing, and she has the potential to go even further than before. If anything, her story should be a lesson to all of us. By giving ourselves permission to rest, we can become even stronger.