WORLD JUNIORS 2015 SF – Malaysian girls boleh!

Lee Ying Ying secured Malaysia’s first ever spot in the World Junior Championship girls’ singles final, followed by Goh Jin Wei to secure the title for the team. By Don […]

Lee Ying Ying secured Malaysia’s first ever spot in the World Championship girls’ singles final, followed by Goh Jin Wei to secure the title for the team.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Raphael Sachetat for Badmintonphoto (live)

Team China came into the 2015 World Junior Championships riding high after their first title sweep at the Asian Juniors in 15 years.  Although they retained their mixed team title, the weaknesses had already begun to appear when Japan beat two of their top contenders in the semi-final.

Japanese ascendancy reached its peak in the quarter-finals, however, and the tide changed again on Saturday as Japanese hopes in all five disciplines faded away.  Perhaps least expected was in the girls’ singles, where Malaysian shuttlers were the ones who capitalized.

It’s been nine years since a Malaysian girl reached a major junior final.  Lydia Cheah lost to Wang Yihan in the Asian Juniors way back in 2006 but was unable to convert that into a title.

This year, not one but two Malaysians booked their spots in the girls’ final to lock up a title that has belonged to Japan for three years running.  Lee Ying Ying (pictured top) was the first to make her reservation.  She needed 74 minutes but was still able to deny Natsuki Nidaira the chance to extend her joy after beating top seed He Bingjiao.

15-year-old Goh Jin Wei was even more convincing when she saw off Moe Araki (pictured above) in just 32 minutes and locked up the title for Malaysia.  One of these girls will become only the second Malaysian to win a singles title at the World Junior Championships.  The first was boys’ singles winner Zulfadli Zulkiffli in 2011.

In fact, it was also in 2011 that Europe last had a finalist at the World Juniors.  That year, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen narrowly missed out on repeating as boys’ singles champion.  In 2015, his compatriots Joel Eipe and Frederik Søgaard Mortensen (pictured) will be attempting to do one better and take Europe’s first junior doubles title since way back in 1994, when Peter Gade and Peder Nissen won the boys’ title.

This year’s Danes won a nail-biter over Asian Junior runners-up Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong.  They bounce back from 11-17 and then 17-20 down in the deciding game to grab the last 5 points and book a spot in the final.

The boys’ doubles will thus be the only doubles discipline that will not see an all-Chinese final.  In fact, New Zealand Open Grand Prix Gold champions Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen (pictured bottom) will attempt to pull off a doubles tripod, as they have each qualified for the finals both together and with their respective doubles partners.

If they can do it, they will also give China its first sweep of the doubles titles since 2000, when the doubles tripod came courtesy of Sang Yang and Zhang Yawen, both of Sang’s partners later going on to become World Champions.  Zheng’s boys’ doubles partner He Jiting and his mixed partner Du Yue also have the chance to account for all three doubles titles.

The boys’ singles title will also get a new home in 2015.  Japan’s Koki Watanabe was unable to take it back to Japan for the first time in 3 years.  He lost out to Chinese Taipei’s Lu Chia Hung.  Fresh off his upset of defending champion Lin Guipu, Lu now has the chance to take his team’s first World Junior title since Cheng Shao Chieh won the girls’ singles crown 11 years ago.

In the other semi-final, India’s Siril Verma (pictured) and Adulrach Namkul of Thailand duked it out to determine who would be a first-ever finalist from his nation in the discipline.  Verma won the match handily and thus became the first male ever to reach a World Junior final.  He will attempt to do one better than H. S. Prannoy, who won silver at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

Finals line-up
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] vs. He Jiting / Du Yue (CHN) [8]
WS:  Goh Jin Wei (MAS) [4] vs. Lee Ying Ying (MAS)
MS:  Lu Chia Hung (TPE) [6] vs. Siril Verma (IND)
WD:  Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) [1] vs. Du Yue / Li Yinhui (CHN) [10]
MD:  He Jiting / Zheng Siwei (CHN) [1] vs. Joel Eipe / Frederik Søgaard Mortensen (DEN) [2]

Click here for complete semi-final results

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 @