by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Yuko Kato and Kana Takeuchi concluded the year in the respective top two positions on the Standings; Yuko Kato being the most successful of all.
She won no less than four Junior Girls’ Singles titles. She succeeded in France, Sweden, Portugal and Slovenia, whilst being a semi-finalist in the Czech Republic and in Spain. It was only in Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Croatia and Hungary where she did not secure a podium finish.
The situation for Kana Takeuchi is somewhat different. She won on just one occasion, the first tournament of the year. She emerged successful in the Czech Republic.
However, a series of consistent performances secured second place on the end of year list; notably she was the runner up in Portugal, Spain and Croatia; a semi-finalist in Hong Kong and Hungary.
A place in the Finals well earned, it is the same for the host nation’s Selena Selvakumar and Portugal’s Raquel Andrade; both made nine appearances on the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit. Selena Selvakumar won in Qatar; the best for Raquel Andrade was runners up spot in Egypt.
Success for Selena Selvakumar in the Gulf region of the world; for Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam and Mak Tze Wing, the two players who in Indore arguably provide the greatest threat to Japanese success, there were also titles.
Mak Tze Wing, won in Thailand; Minnie Soo Wai Yam succeeded in Chinese Taipei, notably beating Mak Tze Wing in the final. Earlier in the year, Minnie Soo Wai Yam had been the finalist on home soil, losing to China’s Qian Tianyi, a player who did not meet the criteria of competing in two continents to qualify for the Finals.
One win apiece for Mak Tze Wing and Minnie Soo Wai Yam; six further young ladies named on the Indore list, experienced the same level of success.
Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling and Fang Sih-Han both enjoyed victories. Su Pei-Ling Fang won in Croatia, Fang Sih-Han in Jordan.
Meanwhile, Romania’s Andreea Dragoman succeeded in Bahrain, India’s Archana Girish Kamath in Morocco and Germany’s Caroline Hajok in Tunisia.
Likewise, not to be left out, Tunisia’s Abir Haj Salah flew the flag for Africa; she won in Algeria.