Rabat, Morocco, Dec 5, 2013: China has defended both the men’s and women’s team titles in a pulsating day of table tennis at the 2013 World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Rabat, Morocco.
The men’s team comprising of KONG Lingxuan, LIANG Jingkun and ZHOU Kai survived the spirited Japanese trio of Masataka MORIZONO, Yuto MURAMATSU and Asuka SAKAI to win 3-2 in one of the most exciting World Junior Championships’ team finals.
The hero of the Chinese team, 17 year old LIANG Jingkun, who won both of his matches to steer China to their 8th straight men’s team gold, stated:
“I am very excited about such a big gold medal. My perseverance in both my matches was very good, which helped. It was not easy for me, as I was the backbone of the team, which is a lot of pressure.”
Japan’s Masataka MORIZONO, who topped the GAC Group 2013 World Tour Men’s Under-21 standings, was devastated that he could not steer Japan to their first men’s team victory since 2004.
“I played so well in my first match, beating KONG which gave us a 1-0 lead” stated the 18 year old. “I was disappointed that I could not win my second match against LIANG, but I had no chance, his serves were very difficult to read and he was very strong from the backhand.”
Poland and France grabbed the bronze medals, after strong performances over the 3 days.
The Chinese women won their third straight junior team crown by defeating Japan 3-0. China, represented by GU Yuting, LIU Gaoyang and WANG Manyu were simply too good for the young Japanese team of Mima ITO, Miu HIRANO and Sakura MORI.
13-year-old star-in-the-making Mima ITO came the closest to getting Japan on the scoreboard, but just fell short in her opening match against GU Yuting, losing 3-2.
An ecstatic LIU Gaoyang, who easily won her match against Miu HIRANO, gave an insight on how she remains focused during such a big match: “I am very pleased with this gold medal. My biggest advantage is that I keep my head in the game. I don’t worry about who I am playing, or what is happening around me. I am just on my own.”
The surprise of the women’s team was Romania, who claimed a well deserved bronze medal, along with Hong Kong.
The 2013 World Junior Championships, which is the 11th edition continues tomorrow, with the singles and doubles competitions commencing. The competition concludes on Sunday 8 December when the men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles World Junior Champions will be crowned.
GU Yuting (CHN) def Mima ITO (JPN) 11-8, 11-13, 6-11, 11-3, 11-5
LIU Gaoyang (CHN) def Miu HIRANO (JPN) 11-4, 11-3, 11-9
WANG Manyu (CHN) def Sakura MORI (JPN) 6-11, 12-10, 11-2, 11-7
Masataka MORIZONO (JPN) def KONG Lingxuan (CHN) 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5
LIANG Jingkun (CHN) def Yuto MURAMATSU (JPN) 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9
Asuka SAKAI (JPN) def ZHOU Kai (CHN) 4-11, 9-11,11-7, 12-10, 16-14
LIANG Jingkun (CHN) def Masataka MORIZONO (JPN) 11-7, 11-7, 11-7
KONG Lingxuan (CHN) def Yuto MURAMATSU (JPN) 11-9, 11-4, 13-11
5 December 2013, 9:15am @ Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium – Singles preliminary groups and boys’ and girls’ doubles KO stage (1st round)
6 December 2013, 9:15am @ Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium – Singles and doubles K.O. stages
7 December 2013, 9:15am @ Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium – Singles and doubles K.O. stages
8 December 2013, 10:00am @ Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium – Singles semi-finals and singles and doubles finals. —- Photo by Remmy Gros/ITTF