by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the Czech Republic, Sakura Yokoi reached the quarter-final stage of the junior girls’ singles event, Kaho Akae advanced one round further; in cadet girls’ singles competition it was bronze for Sakura Yokoi, gold for Kaho Akae.
Later in the month in Sweden, Kako Akae claimed both the junior girls’ singles and cadet girls’ singles titles, in the respective events for Sakura Yokoi it was a semi-final appearance and runners up spot. Two months later they returned to Europe; in France Sakura Yokoi progressed to junior girls’ singles quarter-finals but most significantly she emerged the cadet girls’ singles champion. In both competitions Kaho Akae reached the semi-final round.
A return home for Kaho Akae but for Sakura Yokoi there was a further tournament on the list. In May she travelled to Poland, she excelled, she won both junior and cadet girls’ singles titles.
In Hong Hong, Sakura Yokoi is the top seed in the junior girls’ singles event ahead of Kaho Akae; Chinese Taipei’s Yu Hsiu-Ting and Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yee complete the top four names, likewise players who this year have excelled. Yu Hsiu-Ting won the junior girls’ singles title in Australia, at the ITTF Challenge Thailand Open, Lee Ka Yee reached the under 21 women’s singles quarter-finals.
Worthy names on duty, it is the same in the junior boys’ singles competition; Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen heads the list ahead of Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun, Iran’s Amin Ahmadian and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Ming-Wei.
Success on home soil
Impressively, in May, Yanapong Panagitgun won on home soil in Bangkok, a tournament in which the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist, Pang Yew En Koen, reached the semi-final stage. Similarly, Amin Ahmadian impressed at the ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open progressing to the under 21 men’s singles quarter-finals; likewise, on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Tai Ming-Wei was the runner up in Australia.
In the younger age group events, Japan’s Sora Matsushima heads the cadet boys’ singles seeding ahead of Iran’s Navid Shams; in the counterpart cadet girls’ singles competition Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Yun-En is the top seed followed by Japan’s Miwa Harimoto. All are no strangers to life on the ITTF World Junior Circuit.
Team events commence
Play commences with the team events; Singapore’s Lim Dao Yi, Pang Yew En Koen, Shi Kexun and Josh Chua Shao Han form the junior boys’ top seeded outfit, in the girls’ team event the leading combination is that of Japan’s Sakura Yokoi, Kaho Akae and Haruna Ojio, a player who is no stranger the life on the ITTF World Tour and ITTF Challenge Series tournaments.
Meanwhile, Navid Shams and Hong Kong’s Yu Nok head the cadet boys’ team seeding, the latter’s colleagues Chelsea Chan Shiu Lam and Yenn Ho Ching form the leading cadet girls’ team pairing.