by Ian Marshall, Editor
Izaac Quek Yong won the cadet boys’ singles event, Miwa Harimoto secured the counterpart cadet girls’ singles title and thus secured a niche in table tennis history.
On the concluding day of play, just as 16 year old elder brother Tomokazu was progressing to win the men’s singles title at the 2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open, some 1,150 miles further south in Budapest, so 11 years of age Miwa Harimoto was en route to the top step of the podium in Örebro.
Joszef and Eva Koczian
Now how far do we have to go back in time since a brother and younger sister succeeded on the international stage?
Currently Romania’s Hunor and Bernadette Szocs compete on the international stage but will anyone ever match Hungary’s Joszef and Eva Koczian?
Joszef, ten years the elder won 14 medals at World Championships between 1949 and 1995, Eva 12 medals between 1953 and 1967. Notably in 1953 in Bucharest, Joszef partnered compatriot Ferenc Sido to men’s doubles gold, two years later Eva achieved the same in the mixed doubles in Utrecht in harness with Kalman Szepesi.
Success for Miwa Harimoto but surely more exacting than for elder brother. Tomokazu only had to play two matches, one against Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov (11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8), the final in opposition to colleague Yukiya Uda (7-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8).
He had life on easy street! Conversely, Miwa Harimoto had to play twice that number!
After accounting for Russia’s Maria Panfilova (11-5, 11-2, 11-5), she overcame India’s Suhana Saini (11-7, 11-5, 11-5) and Singapore’s Zhou Jingyi (6-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-3) to reach the final where she experienced a most worthy opponent. In a full distance five games encounter she overcame Anna Hursey of Wales (11-13, 11-6, 5-11, 11-2, 11-4) to seal the title, a player in form.
After accounting for Sachi Aoki (7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5), the player with whom Miwa Harimoto had won the junior girls’ doubles title on the second day of action, Anna Hursey caused a major upset by overcoming Egypt’s Hana Goda (7-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8), the young lady who currently heads the under 15 girls’ world rankings.
One round later, at the semi-final stage she maintained her form; she ousted Germany’s Annett Kaufmann, presently standing at no.8 in the global order. Notably she recorded a straight games win (11-7, 11-6, 11-8).
Even more imposing
Most worthy performances form Miwa Harimoto; it was the same in the cadet boys’ singles event from Izaac Quek Young, his performance arguably even more stunning.
He won the title without the loss of a single game. The top seed, listed at no.4 on the current under 15 boys’ world rankings, safely through to the second round the previous day, the 13 year old accounted for Sohan Gilles of France (11-3, 11-5, 11-6), England’s Conor Green (12-10, 11-5, 14-12) and Puerto Rico’s Oscar Birriel (11-8, 11-9, 11-6).
Outstanding form en route to the final, it was the same in the final; he beat Canada’s Simeon Martin to secure the top prize (11-8, 11-9, 11-8).
“I’m very happy, this is my first victory on the ITTF World Junior Circuit. It was difficult to win and I had to work hard but I won all matches 3-0 in games. I have improved a lot lately and in this tournament my forehand drive was much better. I practise five hours a day six days a week.” Izaac Quek Young
Presently named at no.276 on the under 15 boys’ world rankings, Simeon Martin was a surprise finalist.
On the concluding day of play, in his opening encounters he stared defeat in the face. He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Aziz Zarehbin of the United States (9-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-7), prior to doing exactly the same when facing India’s Preyesh Suresh Raj (6-11, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8).
A place in the semi-finals booked he rose the occasion, he beat Germany’s Tayler Fox in straight games (11-8, 11-8, 11-3).
Play concluded in Örebro, the next stop on the ITTF World Junior Circuit is Kinshasa; the 2020 Congo Junior and Cadet Open begins on Wednesday 4th March.