by Ian Marshall, Editor
Notably earlier in the year in February, Yumeno Soma was a familiar face on the ITTF World Junior Circuit; she departed in the third round of the Junior Girls’ Singles event in the Czech Republic but the following week emerged the winner in Sweden.
Meanwhile, Miyuu Kihara reached the Junior Girls’ Singles semi-final round at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Myanmar in August; otherwise, the focus for the entire team throughout the year has been the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour and the ITTF Challenge Series tournaments.
In particular, Miyu Nagasaki has shone. On the ITTF World Tour she reached the semi-final stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event in Germany, the Korea Republic and in the Czech Republic. Likewise, at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, she achieved the same success in Slovenia and in Belgium, most significantly in the latter also advancing to the penultimate round in the Women’s Singles event.
Similarly, at ITTF Challenge Series Under 21 Women’s Singles events, Satsuki Odo was a semi-finalist in Thailand, Spain and Belarus, the runner up in Croatia.
Performances of note but should the gold star go to Miyuu Kihara? In a somewhat similar vein to Miyu Nagasaki she was a semi-finalist in both the Women’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles in Belarus but at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Shinan Korea Open in Daejeon, most significantly, she won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title.
At first sight they may not appear earth shattering performances, they might not have hit the headlines by beating Olympic or World champions but you must take into consideration their ages. Satsuki Odo and Miyuu Kihara are both only 14 years old, Miyu Nagasaka and Yumeno Soma are just two years their senior.
It means that a situation is realized that I am sure has never happened previously in the history of the World Junior Championships. In Bendigo, take the average age of all 16 outfits on duty in the Girls’ Team event and the top seeds are the youngest; furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, to have held the exalted position at the start of play, the youngest ever.