by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Lim Jonghoon is now the owner of four such titles, in 2016 he won in Hungary and on home soil in Korea, earlier this year he won again in Korea.
In Tokyo he halted Japanese aspirations; at the semi-final stage he beat Masaki Takami, the no.22 seed, by the very narrowest of margins (11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 3-11, 11-9) before securing the top prize by overcoming Tonin Ryuzaki, the no.11 seed (8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7).
A close penultimate round win, it had been the same for Tonin Ryuzaki, he had required the full five games to beat Germany’s Qiu Dang, the no.18 seed (4-11, 2-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6).
Previous success, the win recorded by Lim Jonghoon was not a great surprise; the win secured by Yuka Umemura was very much against the odds.
At the semi-final stage she accounted for Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the top seed (8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 14-12), prior to clinching the title at the expense of compatriot, 12 year old Miyuu Kihara, the no.6 seed (11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8). Earlier, at the semi-final stage, Miyuu Kihara had also caused Hong Kong heartache; she had beaten Mak Tze Wing by the very narrowest of five games margins (11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9).
It is yet another success for a gold generation of girls that has emerged in recent years in Japan.
Yuka Umemura was born in 2000, the same year as Miu Hirano, Mima Ito and Hina Hayata who all won medals at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships. Also born in the same year are Maki Shiomi and Misuho Kimura, both winners on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit.
Now add to the list the names of Ayano I, Miyu Kato, Yuko Kato, Kasumi Kimura and Asuka Sasao; they were all born in 1999 and all, like Maki Shiomi and Misuho Kimura, have enjoyed ITTF World Junior Circuit success this year; it a quite staggering generation of players.
Yuka Umemura is now a fully-fledged member.
Photos: courtesy of Japan Table Tennis Association