by Simon Daish
Seeded fourth for the Boys Team category France was anticipated to achieve a positive finish heading into the Championships, but the prospect of facing the fifth seeds Hong Kong in the second stage of the tournament set up what should have been a difficult task for the European side to negotiate.
However, the end result on the score sheet doesn’t lie and in actual fact France looked in control for the majority of the match against Hong Kong; Alexandre Cassin gave the French team the opening lead with a solid showing against Kwan Man Ho (11-3, 12-10, 14-12) and while Hong Kong pulled the scores level following Ng Pak Nam’s victory over Joe Seyfried (11-9, 11-13, 9-11, 5-11) that would prove to be only a consolation win on paper.
The third match saw Irvin Bertrand take on Hong Kong’s Cheng Pak Hei and a straight games success for the French competitor (11-6, 11-8, 11-3) set the way for Alexandre Cassin to complete the job, with Cassin beating Ng Pak Nam (11-9, 11-9, 11-2) to seal a place in the top eight for France.
“The third game is always very crucial because the first two games are always 50-50. So it was very important for me to win the match in order to give the team the needed victory. Our target is the semi-finals and if we make it to the final by beating any of the Asian teams it is going to be amazing… But for now we are in the quarter-finals and we hope to take each match as they come” – Irvin Bertrand (France).
Another country which will compete for a top eight finish is China, after the No.2 seeds overcame Chinese Taipei in their second group B encounter of the day.
Earlier in the day’s play Italy lost out 3-0 to China and in the afternoon session Chinese Taipei would go on suffer the same fate as the Italians; Xu Haidong and Xu Yingbin both registered 3-0 victories for China seeing off Lin Yun-Ju (13-11, 11-8, 11-8) and Feng Yi-Hsin (11-9, 11-3, 11-9) respectively, while Yu Heyi managed to claim a fourth end win against Chinese Taipei’s Huang Chien-Tu (11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9).
Japan was involved in another five match encounter, as the highest seeded team in the event was forced to hold off a comeback charge from Romania in a tie that finished 3-2 in the Asian country’s favour, and a Cho Seungmin brace helped Korea Republic defeat DPR Korea by a 3-1 scoreline.