08 Dec 2021

The Land of the Rising Sun, on Wednesday 8th December at the 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships in Vila Nova de Gaia, the sun set on Japan.

Sora Matsushima and Miwa Harimoto won the respective under 15 boys’ and under 15 girls’ singles titles.

by Ian Marshall

Following success against Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong, the no.3 seed (11-8, 12-10, 12-10, 11-8), Sora Matsushima, the no.18 seed, secured the boys’ title at the hands of Poland’s Milosz Redzimski, the no.17 seed (11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7).

“I thought that it would be tough to win the title before the tournament started, but I  played well, and now I’m really happy with the result. In the semi and final, I was able to play really well, so I was happy with that.” Sora Matsushima

Undoubtedly, Milosz Redzimski was very much a player in form. Earlier in the day he had overcome Frenchman Felix Lebrun the top seed and winner of the under 15 boys’ singles title earlier this year at the European Youth Championships in Varazdin (11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-6).

Milosz Redzimski excelled expectations (Photo: ITTF)


More impressive

Impressive from Sora Matsushima it was arguably even more impressive from Miwa Harimoto.

The no.16 seed, she beat Egypt’s Hana Goda, the top seed, to arrest the title (11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-1, 11-5).

“I am really happy with winning all events, it was one of my goals. I knew that Hana is really a strong player because we played doubles. However I could prepare well against her. In the final, I was nervous, I enjoyed playing and could play my best. Thanks so much for holding the event, I’m really happy with being here.”  Miwa Harimoto

Earlier at the semi-final stage Hana Goda had overcome India’s Suhana Saini, the no.4 seed (12-10, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-8); in a similarly imposing manner, Miwa Harimoto, the no.16 seed, had prevailed in opposition to Singapore’s Ser Lin Qian, the no.16 seed (11-6, 12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7).

Defeat for Ser Lin Qian but with a degree of honour; she did what previously no other player was able to achieve. She extracted a game from Miwa Harimoto!

Silver for Hana Goda (Photo: ITTF)


Incredible record

The record achieved by Sora Matsushima and Miwa Harimoto in Vila Nova de Gaia is quite incredible and will stand the test of time.

Together they won the mixed doubles, Sora Matsushima partnered Felix Lebrun to boys’ doubles gold, Miwa Harimoto the same in the girls’ doubles in harness with Hana Goda.

Overall Sora Matsushima lost just one match, that being at the semi-final stage of the under 19 boys’ team event against China when losing to Chen Yuanyu (11-4, 13-11, 11-4).

In total, over the seven days of action, the record read 16 matches played, 15 wins!

Simply outstanding (Photo: ITTF)



Stunning; the record of Miwa Harimoto is even more staggering.

She guided Japan to gold in the girls team event, winning all five matches in which she competed, then she added a further five in the mixed doubles, three in the girls’ doubles and five in the girls’ singles.

The sum: 18 matches played, 18 wins.

One other fact to note, Sora Matsushima born in 2007 is eligible for the age group next year, Miwa Harimoto, born in 2008 is eligible for the next two years!








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