by Ian Marshall, Editor
A repeat of the final one year ago in the Italian resort of Riva del Garda, when the margin of victory in favour of China had been the same outcome as in Bendigo; on that occasion Miyu Nagasaki had been the player to cause the champions elect problems. In the third match of the fixture she had accounted for Shi Xunyao (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6); one year later there was no repeat but the 16 year old once again proved a most worthy adversary.
In the opening match of the final, she came within a whisker of beating Qian Tianyi, only falling short by the minimal two point margin the deciding fifth game (11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9).
So near against Qian Tianyi, when facing Shi Xunyao in the fourth match of the final, the contest that brought matters to a conclusion; the outcome was very different to one year ago. Shi Xunyao recorded a straight games win, extracting revenge in clinical style (11-6, 11-5, 11-9).
Success for Shi Xunyao against Miyu Nagasaki came after she had overcome Satsuki Odo (11-8, 11-2, 11-3) in the second match of the engagement and Huang Fanzhen had lost her second match of the tournament being beaten by Miyuu Kihara, like Satsuki Odo only 14 years old. Miyuu Kihara prevailed by the narrowest of margins in a pulsating five games contest (11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 4-11, 12-10); for Huang Fanzhen, it was déjà vu. Two days earlier against the United States when facing Amy Wang she had lost by a similar margin (16-14, 8-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9).
Gold for China and for the 14th time; a contest that was very similar to the first ever Girls’ Team final at a World Junior Championships. In 2003 in Santiago, China recorded a three-one win against Japan; the player to clinch the one match for the Land of the Rising Sun was Midori Ito, just as in Bendigo, she succeeded in the third match of the fixture, accounting for Li Qian (11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7), not the Li Qian who now represents Poland or the Li Qian who is Para athlete.
However, note the name of the player who won both her matches on that occasion, a player who progressed to become Olympic and World champion; Li Xiaoxia beat both Sayaka Hirano (11-6, 3-11, 11-9, 11-3) and Ai Fukuhara (11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 11-9).
I wonder what lies in wait for Shi Xunyao?