by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success and for Fumiya Igarashi, there was no easy route; in the latter stages on each occasion he beat higher rated adversaries, notably in the quarter-final and semi-final rounds ending the hopes of Chinese Taipei.
In the last eight, he beat Tai Ming-Wei, the no.4 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8), prior to overcoming Lin Hsin-Yang, the no.2 seed, in what was to prove his toughest contest of the whole tournament; he emerged successful in seven games (11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 8-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-8).
A place in the final booked, he proved too powerful for India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.3 seed, emerging successful in five games (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5); earlier at the quarter-final stage Manav Vikash Thakkar had beaten Singapore’s Gerald Yu Zong Jun, the no.13 seed (11-9, 11-6, 14-12, 11-4), prior to recording a semi-final win against Seiya Nishimura (11-4, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8).
The win meant that Fumiya Igarashi went through the whole tournament unbeaten; furthermore, Lin Hsin-Yang must be sick of the sight of him! Fumiya Igarashi beat Lin Hsin-Yang in the group stage of the Junior Boys’ Team event (11-8, 11-8, 11-4) and then once again in the final (11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-3).
Victory contrary to seeding for Fumiya Igarashi but perhaps it was no great surprise. Earlier in the year he had competed on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour in Korea, prior to more recently being on duty at the ITTF Challenge Series tournament in Zagreb.
He did not hit the headlines but there were performances to note. In the Under 21 Men’s Singles event in Korea, he beat the host nation’s Kim Minhyeok (11-7, 11-9, 11-6) and Park Ganghyeon (14-16, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7), before experiencing a quarter-final defeat at the hands of colleague Mizuki Oikawa (11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-3). Notably the win over Park Ganghyeon, came after he had lost earlier in the day to the Korean in the preliminary round of the Men’s Singles event (11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8).
Meanwhile, more recently in Zagreb it was in the Men’s Singles event where Fumiya Igarashi shone; he was beaten narrowly by Poland’s Patryk Zatowka (11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8) and thus did not advance to the main draw but he recorded notable wins against Russia’s Konstantin Chernov (8-11, 11-4, 12-14, 13-11, 11-7, 11-5) and Korea’s Choi Wonjin (13-11, 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9).
Proceedings concluded in Bangkok; the next tournament on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit calendar is the Spanish Junior and Cadet Open; play starts in Platja d’Aro on Wednesday 17th May.
Photos: Nakarees Terakashimi