26 Oct 2018

Outsiders for honours when play commenced, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Korea Republic’s Kim Youjin won the respective Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles titles at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open in De Haan on the afternoon of Friday 25th October.

Shunsuke Togami commenced play as the no.12 seed, Kim Youjin had to negotiate the qualification rounds.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The winner one year ago, for Shunsuke Togami it was a successful title defence; after having recorded a most emphatic semi-final win in opposition to Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-8), he recovered from a two games to nil deficit and the very precipice of defeat to overcome Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, the no.16 seed (11-4, 6-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-2).

“I was down two-nil in games but I kept believing in the victory. In the end I was able to finish easily in the fifth game. My ambition was to win this tournament in Belgium for a second time in a row and I did it. I feel great. My goal in the future is to be number one in Japan.” Shunsuke Togami

In the counterpart semi-final, Andrei Putuntica had beaten Kakeru Sone (11-4, 6-11, 16-14, 11-8), a qualifier and like Shunsuke Togami from Japan.

A second success for Shunsuke Togami, for the defensive skills of Kim Youjin it was a first. Against the odds at the semi-final stage she beat Japan’s Miyu Nagasaki, the top seed, in five games (11-8, 3-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-7), before overcoming India’s Ayhika Mukherjee (11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6) to seal the title.

“I am very happy with this title in Belgium; this is the first time that I have won an Under 21 tournament on the international scene. I hope to improve my level and win more matches and tournaments at senior level in the future.” Kim Yoojin

Defeat for Ayhika Mukherjee but she could be more than satisfied with her efforts, at the semi-final stage she had beaten Hong Kong’s Zhou Chengzhou (6-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-8), a player who likewise had started proceedings in the preliminary rounds and had caused a series of upsets to reach the later round.

The Under 21 Women’s Singles medallists, Ayhika Mukherjee (left) and (right) Kim Yoojin (Photo: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)
Challenge Series 2018 Belgium Open Shunsuke Togami Ayhika Mukherjee Andrei Putuntica Kim Yoojin

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open

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