by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Listed at no.419 on the recently published Under 21 Women’s World Rankings, a climb of three places when compared with the July list, having experienced defeat on the opening day of action when facing Ko Un Gum (6-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-8), she suffered the same fate one day later when confronting Choe Hyon Hwa, like Ko Un Gum from the host nation (12-10, 11-4, 11-4).
Defeats but put matters into perspective; consistently results gained by Iranian players impress, notably earlier this year the Women’s Team struck gold at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. A fine performance but then compare with DPR Korea, their female players achieved bronze medals last year at the Perfect World Team Championships and at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Competing in Pyongyang is for Fatemeh Jamalifar very much a visit to the lion’s den; salute the young lady for her bravery. No doubt she will emerge better for the experience.
Ko Un Gum, having beaten Choe Hyon Hwa (10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7) on the first day of action, duly finished in first place in the group with Choe Hyon Hwa in second spot.
Four groups in the first stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, players finishing in first and second places advanced to the quarter-finals.
In addition to Ko Un Gum and Choe Hyon Hwa; last eight berths were reserved by compatriots Ri Hyon Sim, O Jin Hul, Kim Jin Hyang, So Kuk Hwa, Kim Jinju and Cha Su Yong.
All DPR Korea quarter-finals, it is the same in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event where, likewise, there were four groups in the initial phase; players finishing in the first two positions advancing to the main draw.
Kim Ok Chan, Pang Un Chol, Choe Kyong Guk and U Tae Ryong duly concluded matters in first place; second positions were reserved by Ji Yu Yong, Ri Kang Guk, Ri Jong Sik and Jong Ui.
The quarter-finals of both the Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles events, will be played on Friday 4th August.