by Ian Marshall, Editor
Only 14 years old, after recording a semi-final win against Chinese Taipei’s Yu Hsiu-Ting, the no.3 seed (11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8), Haruna Ojio accounted for Korea Republic’s Choi Haeeun (11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 12-14, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5) to seal the title. Earlier in the penultimate round, Choi Haeeun had beaten Hong Kong’s Chau Wing Sze (7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4, 12-14, 11-8).
Success for Haruna Ojio was contrary to seeding, she was not listed amongst the elite names; however, she was arguably the favourite for gold. The focus for Haruna Ojio this year has been very much on ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, notably reaching the quarter-final stage of the women’s singles event in Croatia; she has been absent from the junior scene.
Impressive from Haruna Ojio and a seeding upset; it was the same for Amin Ahmadian, semi-finalist on the 2018 ITTF World Junior Circuit in both Oman and Jordan.
The no.3 seed, after overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yan-Cheng (12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 13-15, 11-9, 11-4), he beat Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen, the top seed (11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10, 11-7) to reserve the top step of the podium. In the counterpart semi-final Pang Yew En Koen had ended the progress of Woo Hyeonggyu (11-5, 8-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8), the young man from Korea Republic exceeding all expectations. He has no current world ranking.
Titles for Amin Ahmadian and for Haruna Ojio, notably it was their second success of the day. Earlier as morning turned to afternoon, Amin Ahmadian had partnered Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun to boys’ doubles gold; Haruno Ojio has secured the cadet girls’ doubles title in harness with colleague Miwa Harimoto. At the final hurdle Amin Ahmadian and Yanapong Panagitgun beat Korea Republic’s Park Gyeongtae and Woo Hyeonggyu (11-9, 11-13, 11-9, 11-9); Miwa Harimoto and Haruna Ojio overcame India’s Anargya Manjunath and Suhana Saini (11-4, 11-5, 11-5).
Gold for Miwa Harimoto, later in the day it was silver; in the cadet girls’ singles event, after ousting Singapore’s Zhou Jingyi (11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9), she experienced defeat in the final when opposing Korea Republic’s Kim Nayeong (11-8, 11-6, 11-5). In the corresponding semi-final, Kim Nayeong had ended the hopes of India’s Deepak Ghorpade (11-3, 11-8, 11-8).
One step short for Japan in the cadet girls’ singles event, in the counterpart cadet boys’ singles competition it was the top step. Following success against Hong Kong’s Yiu Kwan To (11-6, 7-11, 11-3, 13-11), 12 years old Sora Matsushima secured the title at the final expense of Chinese Taipei’s Chang Yu-An (11-7, 13-15, 11-3, 10-12, 11-9), the semi-final winner in opposition to Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong (11-9, 11-8, 11-8).
Runners up spot for Chang Yu-An, it had been the same earlier in the day, partnering Jiang Kai of the United States, he experienced defeat at the hands of colleagues Chuang Chia-Chuan and Kao Cheng-Jui (9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7). Silver for Chinese Taipei, in the one remaining event to be decided on the concluding day of play it was gold and silver; Chen Tung-Chuan and Yu Hsui-Ting beat Cai Fong-En and Chu Yi-Ching (11-3, 11-5, 11-9) the junior girls’ doubles final.
Play concluded in Hong Kong, on the ITTF World Junior Circuit attention now turns to the other side of the world; the 2019 El Salvador Junior and Cadet Open, staged in the country’s capital city of San Salvador, commences on Wednesday 14th August.