By Neha Aggarwal
For the first time is the history of Junior World Championships, the boys’ team from China have NOT made it to the final round. Korea Republic’s trio of Cho Seungmin , An Jaehyun and Kim Daewoo created history as they defeated China’s boys’ team comprised of Yu Heyi, Xu Haidong and Xu Yingbin in a nail biting encounter that was decided in all five matches. Korea started well with a 1-0 lead but China responded ferociously, winning next two matches and thus making a 2-1 lead. However, the Koreans were determined than ever before and never gave up. They came back winning the entire fixture 3-2.
With this win, Korea Republic moved to the penultimate round where they will face world number one Japan.
“We have never beaten China before until the Asian Junior Championship in Thailand last September and since then our confidence of beating has grown. Before the match, we knew we had the quality to beat the Chinese. I am so happy that we were able to repeat the feat again. The final against Japan will be tough because to beat them we have to prepare more than before. But we will try our best just like we did against China to be on top.”- An Jaehyun (KOR)
Japan overcame Chinese Taipei in a comfortable 3-0 victory in the semi finals. Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, Yuto Kizukuri and Yuki Matsuyama crushed the team of Chinese Taipei comprised of Huang Chien-Tu, Lin Yun-Ju and Feng Yi-Hsin to move to the final round.
The Japanese boys are at the peak of their performance, looking strong in the tournament. On the other hand, Korea is high of confidence after their win over China, and thus the final match will be a thrilling contest.
The girls’ team event went smoothly as expected. In the top half, Japan, the number one seed beat Hong Kong 3-1. It was only Soo Wai Yam Minnie who won the second match against Japan’s Hina Hayata 3-1. But Japan was too strong with the presence of Mima Ito, who successfully won both her matches and Miyu Kato winning one. Japan were clear favorites to win and they responded as expected.
On the other side, unlike the boys, China beat Korea Republic 3-0 to move to the final stage. Shi Xunyao, Liu Weishan and Sun Yizhen were too strong for the team from Korea Republic- Kim Youjin, Kim Jiho and Heo Miryeo, who fought hard but that was not enough to surpass the tenacious girls from China.
Thus, the final round, scheduled to be played on 3rd December will be played against Japan and China at 5:00pm local time.
Earlier in the day in the junior girls quarter finals, Hong Kong beat Russia, Japan beat Romania, Korea Republic beat France and China beat Chinese Taipei.
Thus, the day ended with one final round remaining to determine who will be crowned the team champions of the Sun International 2016 World Junior Table Tennis Championships here in Cape Town, South Africa.