by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The young man to attract the attention was China’s 15 year old Kuang Li; in his opening contest, he beat Hong Kong’s Cheng Pak Hei, the highest rated player on initial phase duty (11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8).
Later, he concluded his itinerary of matches by accounting for Japan’s Shota Hoshi (15-13, 11-8, 11-6), also a player in form. Earlier in the day he had overcome Cheng Pak Hei (11.7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8).
Thus the end result was first place in the group for Kuang Li followed by Shota Hoshi and Cheng Pak Hei; players finishing in first and second positions in each group advanced to the main draw, therefore it was the end of the road for Cheng Pak Hei.
Disappointment for Hong Kong but contrary to expectations there was success. Pau Yik Man, Yu Nok and Su Zhi duly topped their groups. However, the national association to cause the majority of upsets was Korea Republic.
Shin Heetae, Nam Seongbeen, Woo Hyeonggyu and Park Minjun in addition to Kim Minsu and Han Yeongseom all remained unbeaten to top their respective groups.
Equally, Japanese players caused upsets; unexpectedly there were first places for Narihisa Iwanaga, Yuto Abe and Akio Fukuhara.
The one further name to note was that of Malaysia’s Javen Choong, a young man in form having four days earlier in the same venue emerged successful in the Road to Buenos 2018 Youth Olympic Games – Asia qualification tournament.
He remained unbeaten notably overcoming Korea’s Yang Yechan, the highest rated player in the group (3-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8); it was to be the only defeat for the Korean, thus second place and progress to the main draw was achieved.
Play continues in the Junior Boys’ Singles event on Saturday 12th May; at the close of play, the quarter-finalists will be known.