28 Jan 2017

Hong Kong's Minnie Soo Wai Yam won the junior girls' single title of the prestigious year end 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals at Indore, India. She beat Japan's Kato Yuko in five games (11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4).

By Neha Aggarwal

“I feel satisfied with my performance. I think technically I am a little better that her. Being mentally strong is important and I did well in that aspect today.” said the ecstatic Minnie Soo Wai Yam

“I am the top seed in this tournament, and I was feeling anxious each time I  thought about becoming the champion. So I had to stay calm and focused. I was able to to do that today”- Minnie Soo Wai Yam

The match was contested in five games, each point of every game well fought. Minnie Soo Wai Yam took the initial lead winning the first two game and thus asserting a dominant position in the match.

But from the third game onwards, it seemed that Kato Yuko woke up from her slumber and twisted the tables. She stayed closer to the table and tried to be aggressive with her defense. Minnie always took the initiative, but made more mistakes than she did in the first two games. Kato Yuko got a 7-0 lead which she extended to 8-4 and wrapped up the game 11-5.

Later Minnie revealed her side of the story. She said ” On the first point I was called out fault on my serve. That confused me and I became out of focus and lost seven consecutive points. I made a lot of mistakes instead of her winning the points.”

But from the fourth game onwards, Minnie showed total dominance. She lead 5-1 and finished off the game 11-5.

 “All Japanese players are very fast. So I had to impart more spin in my topspins so that she is unable to overcome my spins with her fast game.”

She continued, “I told myself not to be too passive. I just had to continue my aggression.” She won the fifth game 11-4 to be crowned the champion.

Minnie Soo Wai Yam was all smiles later, and why not, she was crowned the champion on the Chinese New Year day. She already planned her celebration, “I will go back to Hong Kong, have dinner together with friends and family for which I will pay!”

But she has her eyes set on her target. “This was my last tournament as a junior. Now that I am in seniors, I need to practice more and get better. My target it to make it to the national team.” she signed off with determination.

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