by Simon Daish
Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho went into the final seeded one place below their fourth seed rivals Yuki Matsuyama and Hina Hayata, and the narrow difference in seeding was reflected in the end scoreline as the pair from Korea Republic required the deciding game to claim the title.
The crowd were treated to an exciting end-to-end battle between the two pairs of finalists and the early advantage went to Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho after the Korean duo moved 2-1 ahead after the opening three games.
Then the match was turned on its head with Yuki Matsuyama and Hina Hayata claiming back-to-back games to shift the momentum in their court, and with the title going to the first partnership to gain four ends the Japanese pairing moved to within just a single game from achieving glory.
However, after capturing the sixth game Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho went on to steal the victory, winning the decider in deuce to secure the top prize (7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-3, 13-11).
“I am so happy that we won our first gold medal in this competition and I am hoping to add more in the Boys’ Doubles and Boys’ Singles. In the final game they were leading 10-8, but I knew we could get back into the game because we understood ourselves very well” – Cho Seungmin.
Korea Republic’s previous World Junior Championships title in the Mixed Doubles category came in 2005 where Kang Donghoon and Shim Serom accomplished the honour in Linz, and after ten consecutive trophies for Chinese pairings at the tournament the title has ended up in the hands of another Korean team with Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho emerging the successful duo in Cape Town.
“I am so happy winning the gold medal in my first international competition. I feel so happy and I cannot explain how I am feeling now with this title” – Kim Jiho.