02 Apr 2017

Status and experience favoured Singapore’s Gao Ning, the 34 year old occupied the top seeded position but it was to not be the outcome; Japan’s Jin Ueda, the no.3 seed, emerged successful in the final of the Men’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Thailand in Bangkok on Sunday 2nd April.

The 24 year old secured the title in five games (11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8) and thus enjoyed was must surely rank as the best tournament of his life.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Less than one hour prior to the title decider, he had won the Men’s Doubles event in partnership with colleague Kenji Matsudaira; a win that put him in good stead for the Men’s Singles decider.

Prior to the confrontation in Bangkok, Jin Ueda had never previously faced Gao Ning on the international scene; in the Men’s Doubles final, Gao Ning was the adversary in partnership with Pang Xue Jie, a straight games win was the outcome in favour of Japan (18-16, 11-6, 11-9).

Two titles for Jin Ueda in what was his first international outing of the year.

Notably, he had enjoyed success as a teenager. In 2009 he won Boys’ Singles titles on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in Sweden and Australia, whilst also securing gold in Tokyo at the World Junior Circuit Finals. Additionally, he reached the last eight of the Boys’ Singles event at the World Junior Championships in Cartagena de Indias in northern Colombia.

However, at senior level, similar success had not been achieved; his best Men’s Singles effort on the ITTF World Tour being a quarter-final finish at the 2010 ITTF World Tour German Open in Berlin.

Hindsight is wonderful but on his most recent international excursion prior to setting sail to Bangkok, he gave a strong hint that he may just do something special.

At the 2016 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm last November, after emerging successful in the qualification tournament, he beat Frenchman Simon Gauzy and China’s Wang Chuqin before losing to England’s Liam Pitchford.

The possibility was indicated in the Swedish capital city, the probability was realised in Thai capital city.

Challenge Series 2017 ITTF Challenge - Thailand Jin Ueda Gao Ning

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