25 Mar 2018

Olympic and World champions, just as Ma Long was beating Xu Xin in the final of the Men’s Singles even at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open, before partnering his colleague to Men’s Doubles success; some 800 miles further south, three young players were displaying the fact that they may one day follow in the footsteps of their illustrious Chinese compatriots.

The names in question were Kuang Li, Han Xinyuan and Xiang Peng.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

In the final of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event at the 2018 Italian Junior and Cadet Open in Lignano on the afternoon of Sunday 25th March, China’s Xiang Peng beat Kuang Li (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5), the two having less than one hour earlier combined to win the Cadet Boys’ Doubles title. At the final hurdle, they duo accounted for Croatia’s Ivor Ban and Filip Rorovnjak (11-5, 11-5, 11-5).

Earlier at the semi-final stage of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, Xiang Peng had beaten Han Xinyuan (11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 11-7), Kuang Li had accounted for Russia’s Rusian Cherkes (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5).

One wonders what riches may lay in store; Xiang Peng and Kuang Li are 15 years old, Han Xinyuan is 14 years age; they are of a similar age to Ma Long when we first set eyes on him at the 2003 World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile. Like Xiang Peng and Kuang Li he was 15 years old at the time.

Success for China and there was more on the concluding day in Lignano; Chen Yi, 13 years old beat colleague Liang Jiayi, 14 years old (11-7, 11-6, 11-2) to win the Cadet Girls’ Singles title. In the penultimate round Chen Yi had beaten Lithuania’s Kornelija Riliskyte (11-5, 11-5, 11-5); Liang Jiayi had accounted for Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian (10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8).

Disappointment for Elizabet Abraamian but there was success; she partnered Romania’s Elena Zaharia to Cadet Girls’ Doubles gold. In the title deciding contest they accounted for Lithuania’s Emilija Riliskyte and Komelija Riliskyte (11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4).

Gold for Elena Zaharia, there was further gold for Romania on the concluding day of play in Lignano; Horcia Stefan Ursut won the Hopes Boys’ Singles event beating Spain’s Daniel Bersoza in the final (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8). The counterpart Hopes Girls’ Singles title was secured by Germany’s Jele Stortz; in the final she overcame Slovenia’s Sara Tokic (11-7, 11-6, 11-9).

Play completed in Lignano, attention on the ITTF World Junior Circuit now turns to Abidjan; the Ivory Coast Junior and Cadet Open commences on Sunday 1st April.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Italian Junior & Cadet Open Xiang Peng Kuang Li Han Xinyuan Rusian Cherekes

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