by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Yuto Kizukuri gave Japan the perfect start by beating Cho Seungmin (11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7), before Tomokazu Harimoto doubled the lead when he overcame An Jaehyun (11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10); matters concluded with Yuki Matsuyama rising to the occasion to defeat Kim Daewoo (12-10, 11-6, 11-8).
Gold for Japan and gold for the only the second time in a Boys’ Team event at a World Junior Championships; since the tournament first saw the light of day in December 2003 in the Chilean capital city of Santiago, the Boys’ Team title has always been won by China.
Thus the combination formed by Tomokazu Harimoto, Yuto Kizukuri and Yuki Matsuyama has emulated the feat of a generation earlier, the generation of Jun Mizutani, Seiya Kisikawa and Taku Takakiwa.
On Tuesday 13th December 2005 in the Austrian city of Linz they secured the top step of the podium in the Boys’ Team event; they overcame China by three matches to one.
Jun Mizutani beat Yang Ce (11-8, 11-7, 11-8) and Liu Miao (11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8), after the latter had given China a splendid start by overcoming Seiya Kishikawa (6-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9). The one remaining Japanese win was secured in the third match of the fixture when Taku Takakiwa overcame Fang Li (8-11, 14-12, 11-5, 11-5).
A notable success eleven years ago, even more notable in 2016; victory in the final, not a single match lost, not a deciding fifth game required, in Cape Town it was top marks for the present generation, the class of 2005 was upstaged.