03 Dec 2021

The 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships opened in dramatic fashion on Thursday 2nd December as the top-seeded teams in three events suffered early elimination in Vila Nova de Gaia.

by Simon Daish

Leading the Under-19 Girls’ Team draw, Russia bypassed the Round of 16 through the benefit of seeding, but its journey was short-lived.

Claiming an early lead against ninth seed China thanks to Elizabet Abraamian’s comeback win over Chen Yi (2-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10), Russia’s fortunes took a turn for the worst from that point on. Kuai Man won both of her fixtures against Vlada Voronina (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6) and Abraamian (11-6, 11-9, 11-6), while Wu Yangchen outclassed Natalia Malinina (12-10, 11-7, 11-5) to land a 3-1 victory for China.

“I played at my normal level. Just be myself and show what I can, don’t panic, no matter what happened on court. For tomorrow’s game, I’ll try my best to study the other team, and play my own style. As to the result, let’s see the performance of both sides tomorrow,” said Kuai Man

Third seed India also fell at the quarter-final hurdle, with United States producing a significant upset. Brushing aside hosts Portugal 3-0 earlier in the day, United States, seeded eighth, capitalised on an impressive display by Amy Wang, who dispatched Diya Parag Chitale (9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7) and Swastika Ghosh (11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-4). Rachel Sung also overcame Ghosh (5-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7) as the North American side secured a 3-1 win. United States faces Romania in the last four, while China meets Japan.

“Going into the first match, I was nervous and lost a bit of focus. But then I was able to relax a little and play my own game, which helped me to come back and win. Overall, I believe I could have played a better but I am satisfied with the results. I’m really excited that we were finally able to achieve a medal and even though our goal has already been accomplished, we will continue to try our hardest and hopefully make our way to the final,” said Amy Wang

Kay Stumper proves the difference as Germany survives opening day scare

The top seed in the Under-19 Boys’ Team event also came nail-bitingly close to a quarter-final departure. Daniel Rinderer and Kay Stumper put Germany on the scoreboard early against seventh seed Poland, taking down Maciej Kubik (8-11, 11-2, 11-9, 12-10) and Samuel Kulczycki (4-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9). However, Milosz Redzimski’ strong outing against Hannes Hoermann (11-8, 11-3, 11-2), followed by Kulczycki’s defeat of Rinderer (11-9, 11-7, 11-6), levelled the tie at 2-2. Stumper put any nerves to rest with his second win of the match, beating Kubik (8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8) to see Germany through.

“The first match was very important for us. It made the opponent more nervous, so I’m very happy that we won. The two matches were very difficult, against European champions. I have played against them often, and I never beat Maciej Kubik, so I’m very happy I was able to win. Tomorrow we expect another difficult match. We also know each other very well, but we have no pressure, and we will try our best,” said Kay Stumper

Romania missed out on a semi-final ticket after the second seed fell 3-0 to China’s Xiang Peng, Lin Shidong and Chen Yuanyu. Japan awaits China in the penultimate round as Germany takes on Russia.

In the Under-15 Boys’ Team event, France was responsible for a dramatic upset as they eliminated top seed Romania from the title race. Flavien Coton handed France the lead after seeing off Dragos Alexandru Bujor in the match opener (11-8, 11-5, 11-8) before Nathan Lam beat Horia Stefan Ursut (11-7, 13-11, 11-9) to hand the sixth-seeded team its second win of the match. Antoine Jean Christian Noirault then held off a brave comeback charge from Bujor (11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-5) to send France into the semi-finals.

“It was a hard match! We won 3-2 against the number one seed of the competition, and we all won one match each, so it was a good team win,” said Flavien Coton

United States, Russia and Portugal also make the last four. The host nation was particularly impressive as Rafael Silva, Tiago Abiodun and Bernardo Pinto combined to beat Czech Republic 3-1.

“I feel very honored to be playing in Portugal and for this opportunity, it makes me want to play better. This match was very difficult, I won both matches 3-0 but they were very close. We all just gave our best. Now against Russia, we will be prepared and then fight hard to win the match,” said Tiago Abiodun

A brace from Miwa Harimoto proved decisive for Japan in the Under-15 Girls’ Team event as the number six-seeded team toppled Germany, top seed, to book its passage to the semi-finals. Harimoto made light work of two very capable opponents in Mia Griesel (5-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-9) and Annett Kaufmann (11-8, 11-9, 12-10), while Misaki Suzuki’s stunning recovery against Jele Stortz (7-11, 13-15, 11-7, 15-13, 11-8) resulted in another win for Japan. Elsewhere, India, Russia and United States also remain in the hunt.

Details for the 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships can be accessed here.

Stay tuned for the latest 2021 World Championships news on and

Details for the 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships can be accessed here.

Stay tuned for the latest 2021 World Championships news on and

General News Amy Wang Kay Stumper Miwa Harimoto Flavien Coton

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