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JBS - SET THAILAND JUNIOR & CADET OPEN

SET THAILAND JUNIOR & CADET OPEN

Sunday 13th May

Unique outcome, honours even, Kuang Li and Xiang Peng share titles

Gold and silver, such was the outcome for both Kuang Li and Xiang Peng, both 15 years old, at the SET 2018 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open in Bangkok on Sunday 13th May.

They shared the honours in what must be a first ever in the history of the ITTF World Junior Circuit, a concept inaugurated in 2002.

Kuang Li beat Xiang Peng in the Junior Boys’ Singles final (11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9); soon after Xiang Peng overcame Kuang Li in the Cadet Boys’ Singles final (8-11, 13-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8); a unique occurrence.

In the Junior Boys’ Singles event, a competition which the previous day had witnessed a host of upsets, Kuang Li accounted for Frenchman Leo de Nodrest, the no.11 seed (11-2, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7) and Hong Kong’s Su Zhi (11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8) to reserve his place in the final.

Hard fought contests, in the opposite half of the draw it was the same for Xiang Peng. After having ousted Frenchman, Bastian Rembert, the no.4 seed (7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11, 11-7), he ended the hopes of colleague, Xu Yingbin, the no.2 seed. He prevailed in a closely fought seven games encounter, decided by the very narrowest of decisions (12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9).

Meanwhile, in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, Xiang Peng, the no.4 seed, accounted for Korea’s Park Gyeongtae, the no.8 seed (12-10, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5) and India’s Payas Jain, the no.2 seed (11-9, 11-2, 8-11, 11-1) to reach the final; Kuang Li, the no.7 seed, overcame Singapore’s Andy Wong Yan Kai (11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 14-12), before ending the hopes of compatriot Zhu Jiaqi (11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4).

Success for China, in the Hopes Boys’ Singles event, it was success for India; Havish Amit Asrani emerged successful, at the final hurdle he beat Hong Kong’s Man (11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8).

 

Photo: The podium in the Junior Boys’ Singles event (Photo: courtesy of Table Tennis Association of Thailand)

Friday 11th May

China in command, clean sweep of team titles in Bangkok

One generation retires, there is another ready immediately to step into illustrious shoes; that is China and it would appear the scenario is set to continue.

On Thursday 10th May, at the SET 2018 Thailand Open in Bangkok, China secured all four team titles on offer.

The trio comprising Quan Kaiyuan, Xu Yingbin and Yu Heyi won the Junior Boys’ Team title; Huang Fanzhen, Qian Tianyi and Wang Tianyi secured the gold in the counterpart Junior Girls’ Team competition.

Likewise, Xiang Peng, Kuang Li and Zhu Jiaqi reserved the top step of the podium in the Cadet Boys’ Team event, a feat also achieved by Chen Yi, Fan Shuhan and Yang Yiyun in the Cadet Girls’ Team competition.

At the final hurdle of the Junior Boys’ Team event Quan Kaiyuan, Xu Yingbin and Yu Heyi beat the combination of Frenchmen Lilian Bardet and Leo de Nodrest who teamed with Iran’s Amin Ahmadian.

Yu Heyi, the winner some two weeks earlier in France, gave his team the perfect start; he beat Lilian Bardet (11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4) to set China on the road to gold. Xu Yingbin followed suit by overcoming Leo de Nodrest (11-5, 11-8, 11-5), before Quan Kaiyuan proved too strong for Amin Ahmadian (11-6, 12-10, 11-3).

Likewise, Huang Fanzhen, Qian Tianyi and Wang Tianyi showed no charity; three matches to nil wins were the order of proceedings.

The only player to offer serious resistance was Korea’s Choi Haeeun, the player who three days earlier had emerged successful in the Road to Buenos Aires 2016 Youth Olympic Games-Asia qualification tournament.

She lined up alongside Japan’s Haruna Ojio and Singapore’s Jassy Tan Lin Jin. In the opening match of the quarter-final contest against China, she extended Qian Tianyi, the full five games distance only succumbing by the minimal two point margin in the decider (14-12, 9-11, 3-11, 11-2, 11-9).

Most certainly, it was a notable performance but it was one that her colleagues could not to match. Haruna Ojio was beaten in four games Huang Fanzhen (11-1, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11), Jassy Tan Li Jin suffered at the hands Wang Tianyi (11-3, 11-6, 11-3).

A semi-final place booked, a three-nil win was recorded against the Indian trio of Selena Selvakumar, Archana Girish Kamath and Yashini Sivasankar, before in the final the same margin of victory was secured in opposition to the Japan ‘A’ trio comprising Nayu Satogawa, Natsuki Chiba and Miyabi Manabe.

Performances of note, it was the same in both the Cadet Boys’ Team and Cadet Girls’ Team events.

In the former at the final hurdle Xiang Peng, Kuang Li and Zhu Jiaqi recorded a three-one win in opposition to the Korea ‘A’ Team formed by Jung Seongwon, Park Minjun and Kim Hyujnso; in the latter Chen Yi, Fan Shuhan and Yang Yiyun recorded a three-nil success in opposition to the Korea ‘B’ Team comprising Byun Seoyoung, Kim Taemin and Jung Dabin.

At the final hurdle they beat the combination of Frenchmen Lilian Bardet and Leo de Nodrest who teamed with Iran’s Amin Ahmadian, the winner earlier in the year in Tunisia.

Yu Heyi, the winner some two weeks earlier in France, gave his team the perfect start; he beat Lilian Bardet (11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4) to set China on the road to gold. Xu Yingbin followed suit by overcoming Leo de Nodrest (11-5, 11-8, 11-5), before Quan Kaiyuan proved too strong for Amin Ahmadian (11-6, 12-10, 11-3).

A resounding win; it had been the same in the previous rounds. In the quarter-finals a comprehensive win had been posted in opposition to the Korea Republic ‘A’ outfit of Nam Seongbeen, Lee Seunghwan and Kim Minsu, before in the penultimate round it had been the same outcome when facing Japan. The combination of Yuto Abe, Shota Hoshi and Narihisa Iwanaga found the champions elect in unforgiving mood.

Impressive wins; for Lilian Bardet, Leo de Nodrest and Amin Ahmadian, life was somewhat more exacting. A three-one quarter-final success was recorded against the Thailand ‘A’ combination of Supakron Pankhaoyoy, Yanapong Panagitgun and Thyme Sanglertsilpachai, before in the semi-final round the full five games was needed to overcome India’s Jeet Chandra, Manav Vikash Thakkar and Manush Utpalbhai Shah.

The backbone of the victory was Lilian Bardet, he beat Jeet Chandra in the opening match of the fixture (10-12, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6) and Manav Vikash Thakkar in the fourth encounter (14-12, 11-4, 11-8). The wins set the scene for Amin Ahmadian; he duly obliged in the fifth and deciding contest, he overcame Jeet Chandra (12-10, 11-7, 11-7).

The Junior Boys’ Team event concluded, attention now turns towards the Junior Boys’ Singles and Junior Boys’ Doubles competitions.

Photo: Yu Heyi outstanding in the Junior Boys’ Team event (Photo: courtesy of the Table Tennis Association of Thailand)