by Ian Marshall, Editor
Winner three months ago in the first week of September at the 2019 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Ulaabaator, Miyu Nagasaki, the no.4 seed, accounted for China’s Wu Yangchen at the semi-final stage (10-12, 11-1, 13-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7), prior to overcoming colleague, Haruna Ojio, the no.13 seed, to seal the title (11-4, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7).
Only 14 years old, having beaten DPR Korea’s Kim Un Song at the semi-final stage (11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8), Haruno Ojio becomes the youngest player ever to reach a girls’ singles final at a World Junior Championships.
Similarly it is a milestone for Kim Un Song; she is the first player from DPR Korea to win a medal in the girls’ singles event.
A second major title for Miyu Nagasaki in the space of three months and there was to be a second on the concluding day of play in Korat for the 17 year old; she partnered colleague, Miyuu Kihara to girls’ doubles gold and thus added to their quite remarkable list of successes this year.
They won at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships, at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments they prevailed in Croatia and Slovenia, on the ITTF World Tour in Austria.
In Korat, after beating the French partnership of Camille Lutz and Prithika Pavade (11-4, 11-6, 11-2), they secured the title at the final expense of China’s Kuai Man and Shi Xunyao (11-5, 11-6, 12-10). In the counterpart semi-final, Kuai Man and Shi Zunyao had ousted Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn and Katarzyna Wegrzyn (11-9, 11-8, 11-7).
Three firsts for Japan
It is only the second time that China has not won the girls’ doubles title at a World Championships; the one other occasion was 2016 in Cape Town when Romania’s Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman struck gold.
Two titles for Miyu Nagasaki on the concluding day of play, it was the same for Miyuu Kihara, only 15 years old; she partnered colleague, Yukiya Uda to mixed doubles success. At the final hurdle they beat China’s Xu Yingbin and Shi Xunyao (11-9, 11-1, 11-7).
Hence for Japan, at a World Junior Championships it was three firsts, the first time the girls’ singles champion, the first time the girls’ doubles, the first time the mixed doubles!
Success for the Land of the Rising Sun, rather upstaged the efforts of Xiang Peng alongside colleagues Liu Yebo and Xu Yingbin.
Semi-finalist last year in Bendigo when losing to Yukiya Uda, runner up earlier this year at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships, in Korat, Xiang Peng climbed the last step.
The top seed, after overcoming Japan’s Shunsuke Togami at the semi-final stage (14-12, 12-10, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9), he accounted for Sweden’s Truls Möregard, the no.12 seed in the final (12-10, 11-3, 11-8, 11-5), the semi-final winner in opposition to Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin, the no.15 seed (11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9).
Thus for Truls Möregard, the winner of the junior boys’ singles title earlier this year at the European Youth Championships, it was the fame fate as in 2017 in Riva del Garda; on that occasion he was beaten in the final by Xue Fei, like Xiang Peng from China.
Oustanding boys’ doubles pair
Impressive from Xiang Peng, it was the same in the boys’ doubles from Liu Yebo and Xu Yingbin. At the final hurdle they beat Vladimir Sidorenko and Artem Tikhonov (11-3, 11-6, 11-2); déjà vu, it was a second silver medal for Russia in consecutive years. In 2018 in Bendigo, Maksim Grebnev and Lev Katsman had reached the final losing to Xiang Peng and Chinese colleague, Xu Haidong.
Earlier at the semi-final stage Vladimir Sidorenko and Artem Tikhonov had beaten Xiang Peng and Zeng Beixun (11-8, 11-5, 12-10); Liu Yebo and Xu Yingbin had overcome Singapore’s Josh Chua Shao Han and Pang Yew En Koen (11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 11-8).
Success for Singapore, it was their first ever medal at a World Junior Championships.
Swaythling Club award
However the day belonged to Japan, three gold medals and there was one more.
Shunsuke Togami received the Swaythling Club award for his splendid attitude, the citation read “for setting a good example and upholding the best interests of sport”.
On the fourth day of play at the semi-final stage of the boys’ team event, when facing China, he had lost by the minimal two point margin in the decisive fifth game of the crucial fifth match against Xiang Peng.
Today once again he suffered against Xiang Peng; in both instances he behaved impeccably, a credit Japan, the nation that departed Korat heads held high. Three gold medals on the concluding day of action; we look forward to 2020, we look forward to Portugal we look forward to Guimarães.