by Wade Townsend
Yumeno Soma has shocked the world by winning the Cadet Girls’ Singles title at the 2017 World Cadet Challenge in Fiji.
In a seven game thriller that kept spectators on the edge of their seats, Soma defeated Huang Yingqi 4-3 (6, 10, -13, 4, -8, -9, 5).
Huang came in to the match favourite and the no.1 seed looked in control in the early exchanges. But Soma found her rhythm and committed herself to outlasting her opponent.
The rallies didn’t just have the audience holding their breath, but the competitors as well.
After one marathon rally Soma was forced to call a timeout.
“I had to call a timeout to catch my breath. I just couldn’t breath.” Yumeno Soma
It’s a good sign that the art of defending isn’t heading towards extinction as the next generation proves it still has a place on top of the podium.
Meanwhile, in the Cadet Boys’ Singles Nui Guankai was able to complete a clean sweep at the tournament as he defeated Feng Yi-Hsin to to claim the title and bag all four available gold medals at the event.
Nui won the final in convincing style, taking the match 4-1 (8, -8, 9, 5, 7).
Of the pair it was Feng that stayed closer to the table, looking to cut down the angles his opponent had and send Nui running side to side. But the no.1 seed had all the answers. He moved between the corners of the court like a ballet dancer leaping across the stage.
In Fiji, Nui has simply been invincible.