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ITTF World Youth Championships: China and Japan Top Countries Again

(by Steve Hopkins, photo by ITTF)

The ITTF World Youth Championships concluded today in Tunisia.  Many of the worlds best juniors were present to compete in U19 and U15 events – and to provide a look forward at the next generation of players that may soon be headlining in adult competition.

Seventeen-year-old Lin Shidong of China was almost flawless through the full week of events.  Lin won U19 Boys’ Singles, teamed with Chen Yuanyu to win the U19 Boys’ Doubles, teamed with Kuai Man to win U19 Mixed Doubles, and was a part of the Chinese squad that won the U19 Boys Team event.  In fact, had it not been for a singles loss in the Team Finals (losing to Poland’s Maciej Kubik) in a match that his team won, Lin could claim a perfect week.

For Kubik, he was upset by China’s Chen Yuanyu in the Round of 32 – the first of four upset wins for Chen Yuanyu on his way to the Finals (where he lost 1-4 to Lin Shidong).  The tournament’s top seeded Kubik did begin the week with a run to the Finals (and he was 4-1 in that run, beating Shidong and losing to Yuanyu in the teams Final). However, the rest of his week was frustrating – losing in the opening round of Boys Doubles, losing in the opening round of Boys Singles, and despite winning two rounds in Mixed Doubles, losing to a lower ranked team in the Quarterfinals.

Japan dominated U19 Girls, with Miyuu Kihara winning and teammate Miwa Harimoto finishing second.  The pair also teamed up to win U19 Girls Doubles.  The Chinese girls dominated in U15 Girls.  Yan Yuton topped Xiang Junlin in U15 Girls Singles, and they teamed up to win U15 Girls Doubles.  China also won the U15 Girls Teams event.

France had a solid showing in the Boys events.  Flavien Cotton won the U15 Boys Singles event, and Felix Lebrun (one of the few penholders in Europe) was tied 2-2 against Lin Shidong in the U19 Singles Semifinals before losing two close games.

For the USA, we had Sarah Jalli, Sally Moyland, Tiffany Ke, Kayla Goodwin, Rachel Wang, Hannah Song, Amy Zhang, Daniel Tran, Darryl Tsao, Andrew Yang, and Anav Gupta competing across a series of events.  Among the successes was a U19 Girls Team win over Taipei before losing in the Quarterfinals to China, and Sally Moyland’s win over Tunisia’s Maram Zoghlami before falling in the Round of 16.

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