01 Nov 2019

Intense competition throughout, on the concluding day of play, Thursday 31st October, at the 2019 ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Wladysawowo, Japan’s Kaho Akae emerged the most successful player. After securing the girls’ doubles title in partnership with Korea Republic’s Lee Yeonhui, she reserved the top step of the podium in the girls’ singles event.

Meanwhile, in the boys’ singles competition it was success for Romania’s Darius Movileanu, the win coming after Japan’s Sora Matsushima and Iran’s Navid Shams had claimed boys’ doubles gold.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Runner up in the cadet girls’ singles event at the 2019 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships staged in early September in Ulaanbaator; following success against Egypt’s Hana Goda (11-6, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5), Kaho Akae accounted for Romania’s Elena Zaharia (11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-5, 13-15, 11-8) to seal the title.

“I’m very happy getting this gold medal. Elena is very good player, I played her before and I knew it would be hard final.” Kaho Akae

In the adjacent semi-final Elena Zaharia had ended the progress of Lee Yeonhui (11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 14-12).

“I played Kaho Akae in the team event so I know it would be hard match. I knew that it would be a close match; either of us could have won today. I’m happy I won silver in singles here in Władysławowo.” Elena Zaharia

Elena Zaharia, the girls’ singles runner up (Photo: Bogdan Pasek)
Even more exacting

Hard fought contest, tense moments but not quite the level experienced by Darius Movileanu, the young man who had won the cadet boys’ singles title at the European Youth Championships held in August in Ostrava.

At the semi-final stage he beat Japan’s Sora Matsushima by the minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-13, 11-9), before doing exactly the same in the final when facing Korea Republic’s Jang Seongil (7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4).

Darius Movileanu en route to gold (Photo: Bogdan Pasek)
Almost colleagues met

Gold for Romania and it was almost an all Romanian final; in the corresponding penultimate round contest, Jang Seongil had been required to recover from a two games to nil deficit to beat Iulian Chirita (7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4).

Notably, in the boys’ team event when representing the Hopes against Europe, Iulian Chirita had beaten his colleague, Darius Movileanu (13-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5). Had they met again would revenge have been gained? We’ll never know.

Bronze for Iulian Chirita in the boys’ singles event (Photo: Bogdan Pasek)
Doubles silver

Bronze for Ilulian Chirita, in the boys’ doubles event it was silver.

Partnering Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong, after accounting for Poland’s Milosz Redzimski and Mateusz Zalewski (11-9, 11-3, 11-6), they experienced defeat when opposing Sora Matsushima and Navid Shams (6-11, 11-4, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6). In the opposite half of the draw, Sora Matsushima and Navid Shams had beaten the combination of the Czech Republic’s Simon Belik and Russia’s Denis Izumdrunov (11-6, 11-4, 11-9) to reserve their place in the title decider.

“Our opponents were very good, it was hard match in the final. I played with Sora for the first time, some matches was pretty close but we managed to win; this whole tournament was hard for me, I had pain in my shoulder the whole time. I think maybe that’s why I didn’t get a medal in singles event. Fortunately I won gold in team and doubles, I’m very happy”. Navid Shams

The podium in the boys’ doubles event (Photo: Bogdan Pasek)

Impressive performances

Imposing performances, it was the same in the girls’ doubles from Kaho Akae and Lee Yeonhui.

Following success against Poland’s Anna Brzyska and Zuzanna Wielgos (12-10, 11-3, 11-6), they accounted for Elena Zaharia and Russia’s Vlada Voronina to emerge the champions (12-10, 11-5, 13-11, 11-5).

“I played together for the first time with Vlada but we know each other and we know we can fight for the best results, we both wanted a medal.” Elena Zaharia

In the opposite half of the draw in the penultimate round Vlada Voronina and Elena Zaharia had ousted the Latin American partnership of Mexico’s Arantxa Cossio Aceves and Brazil’s Giulia Takahashi (11-7, 11-7, 11-9).

“In the doubles I was worried about communication with Lee Yeonhui. It was hard at the start of the doubles event but from match to match we learnt how to communicate and we won gold at the end. I’m very happy for these results”. Kako Akae

Silver medals for Elena Zaharia but there was gold; in an event where players drew at random for partners, partnering Izaac Quek Yong the duo overcame the combination of Poland’s Mateusz Zalewski and Croatia’s Hana Arapovic (5-11, 11-8, 11-4) to emerge the winners.

Medallists in the mixed doubles event (Photo: Bogdan Pasek)
2019 World Cadet Challenge Kaho Akae Darius Movileanu

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Day 5 - 2019 ITTF World Cadet Challenge