19 Jul 2018

On Thursday 19th July 2018 history was made in Cluj-Napoca as a new name was added to the list of Junior Girls' Team event winners at the Stag 2018 European Youth Championships.

In a breathtaking final Azerbaijan rose to the occasion, registering a 3-1 win over 2017 gold medallists Russia.

by Simon Daish

Proving to be an unstoppable force for her team in the lead up to the title match Ning Jing was just as impressive in the final itself, putting Azerbaijan ahead thanks to a four games victory over Anastasia Kolish (2-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6). Searching for a quick response Russia turned to Mariia Tailakova to produce a win, a goal which she narrowly achieved with Chen Xingtai giving her a good run for her money (11-13, 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7).

It then looked as though Russia had successfully turned the tide as Kristina Kazantseva put her country 2-1 in front with a straight games win against Zhou Chuyi (12-10, 11-7, 12-10), but all of a sudden the match was turned on its head as Azerbaijan fought back.

Picking up her second victory of the tie, Ning Jing negotiated the fourth fixture of the evening against Mariia Tailakova without dropping a game (11-7, 13-11, 11-8) before Chen Xingtai pulled off a dramatic recovery from two games to one down to beat Anastasia Kolish (11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6).

This is the first time that the Junior Girls’ Team trophy has been awarded to Azerbaijan and comes a year after Ning Jing became the country’s first representative to win the Junior Girls’ Singles gold medal at the tournament. Mikhail Timofeyev, who coached the Azerbaijan team to success in Cluj-Napoca, stated that the final outcome was never in doubt.

“The success did not come as a surprise for us, we were ready. The girls had a lot of training in China, although we knew it would not be easy. Romania and Russia were very strong here and we study their game well.” Mikhail Timofeyev

In the bronze medal match the honour of a spot on the medals podium went to Romania with the team of Andreea Dragoman, Tania Plaian and Andreea Hudusan finishing ahead of France with a 3-1 victory.

More Information

2018 STAG European Youth Championships Ning Jing Chen Xingtai Zhou Chuyi

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