WORLD JUNIORS 2009 – Thais Take Over

Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured), in her fourth appearance at the World Junior Championships, finally booked an appearance in the girls’ singles final after a close call with Asian Junior Champion Chen […]

Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured), in her fourth appearance at the World Championships, finally booked an appearance in the girls’ singles final after a close call with Asian Champion Chen Xiaojia of China.  She meets her 14-year-old compatriot Ratchanok Intanon in an unprecedented all-Thai final.  Elsewhere, Indonesia kept alive hopes of sweeping doubles while Malaysia stands poised for a sweep of its own of the boys’ events.

Story and photos (archives) by Don Hearn

Porntip Buranaprasertsuk is a rare veteran at the World Junior Championships.  Her first appearance was in Incheon in 2006, just days after her 15th birthday.  Last year, she went down in the semi-finals and on Saturday, it looked as though she might be doomed to a fourth consecutive year as an also-ran when she dropped the first game 18-21 to Chen Xiaojia.  However, the Thai turned things around in the second when, from 11-all, she surged ahead with a 5-point run.  Then, in the deciding game, Porntip was trailing 15-19 before she snatched 6 points in a row to clinch the victory.

Porntip’s opponent in the all-Thai final, will be her 14-year-old compatriot Ratchanok Intanon, surprise winner of the Vietnam International Challenge earlier this year.  The younster is far from a pushover, though, as she has already scored some amazing wins this year over the likes of Cheng Shaoh Chieh, Nicole Grether, and Yip Pui Yin.

In the boys’ event, Malaysia sees it’s first WJC singles finalist in over a decade as Zainuddin Iskandar Zulkarnain scraped through in three games against Hsu Jen Hao to set up a rematch of the Asian Junior Championship final against China’s Tian Houwei.  Zainuddin beat Tian in the AJC team final before losing to him in the individual final.

Malaysia has also put a boys’ doubles pair into the finals for a second consecutive year.  On Saturday, in a near-repeat of the Asian Junior Championship final, Ow Yao Han, with new partner Chooi Kah Ming, exacted some payback from AJC winners Angga Pratama / Yohanes Rendy Sugiarto, beating them 13-21, 21-15, 21-18.

Ow/Chooi will face German Junior Open champions Berry Anggriawan / Muhammad Ulinnuha as Indonesia, for the first time in 5 years, placed a WJC doubles finalist.  In fact, the island nation even made up for their recent past by doing so in all three doubles events, amongst which Angga Pratama will also still get his chance at gold as he and Destiara Haris Della showed the exit to yet another Asian Junior Champion from China when they beat Lu/Bao 21-19, 21-18 to reach the mixed final.

Thailand also contributed toward denying China gold in the mixed doubles as Maneepong Jongjit / Rodjana Chuthabunditkul ousted AJC runners-up Liu Peixuan / Xia Huan in straight games and were thus the first Thais ever to book a WJC final spot.  Rodjana failed to double her pleasure against Xia, however, as she and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured) went down tamely to Xia and Tang Jinhua, giving China a shot at two golds.

For complete semi-final results from the 2009 Yonex-Sunrise World Junior Championships, CLICK HERE

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net