WORLD JUNIORS 2018 – Goh and Vitidsarn each win a second!

Goh Jin Wei added a World Junior Championship title to the won she won back in 2015, while Kunlavut Vitidsarn took his second in a row. By Don Hearn.  Photos: […]

Goh Jin Wei added a World Championship title to the won she won back in 2015, while Kunlavut Vitidsarn took his second in a row.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei (pictured above) came into the 2018 World Junior Championships already as the only player to have won this title as well as the Youth Olympic gold.  However, she capped off her junior career by winning both in one year.

Goh had little trouble with European Junior Champion Line Christophersen.  The Dane had knocked out a couple of serious contenders, including second seed and Youth Olympic bronze medallist Phittayaporn Chaiwan.  But Goh was not willing to settle for silver and she finished off the final in just over half an hour.

Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn (pictured below), on the other hand, has another year of junior eligibility left and he may be working on equalling the record set by his compatriot Ratchanok Intanon, who was the first player to win three World Junior titles in the same discipline, a feat equalled a few years later by Chen Qingchen, though Chen won mixed with two different partners.

After winning the title last year, Vitidsarn was denied this year in both the Asian Juniors and the Youth Olympic Games.  The Thai didn’t have to face European Champion Arnaud Merkle, who had upset him at the Youth Olympics but he did get the chance to exact some payback on Lakshya Sen, who had beaten him in the Asian Junior final.

After working for 71 minutes to dismiss Lakshya in the semis, the final was a much easier task  Vitidsarn barely let Japan’s Kodai Naraoka into double digits and finished it off in well under an hour.

Different streaks

Unlike the two singles winners, it was a less fortunate streak for Indonesia’s Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto / Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti in the mixed doubles.  Beaten in last year’s final by a much lower-seeded combination of compatriots who have since graduated out of juniors, this year they faced an unseeded combination from their home country.

But again, the duo had to settle for second best.  The title instead went to Leo Rolly Carnando / Indah Cahya Sari Jamil (pictured bottom).  The younger pair had been having an amazing week, beating Asian Junior Champions and top seeds Guo/Liu in the round of 16, and they won the final handily in straight games.  While Kusharjanto and Ramadhanti will have to try their luck in the senior ranks from next year, the champions will get another shot at junior gold in 2019.

In the girls’ doubles final, it was a meeting between the Asian Junior Championships runners-up of the past two years with both looking to finally get a major junior title.  Both pairs had been unbeaten throughout the mixed team event but did not have to play each other as China beat Malaysia 3-1 and that match wasn’t needed.  Liu Xuanxuan / Xia Yuting (pictured), the top seeds, made sure this one would be theirs, as they took the final from the Malaysians in a pair of 21-16 games.

Wang Chang vs. Wang Chan, Part III

Ever since last year’s Asian Juniors, the names Wang Chang and Wang Chan have been mainstays in top junior events.  Chang plays for China and he and Di Zijian won the Asian Junior title in 2017 and were runners-up at the World Juniors but he did not have to play against Korea’s Wang Chan until this year.

The two pairs, with Wang Chan partnering Shin Tae Yang, played a very tight semi-final in the Indonesian Junior early this year, but again the Chinese went on to win and the Koreans remained more obscure.  The two pairs first met in a final last weekend in Markham, in the Suhandinata Cup mixed team final and this time the Koreans were able to fight their way back in the match before winning in three and giving the Korean team a leg up in the tie.

In the individual event, the Chinese again snatched the first game and the Koreans fought hard to push it to a decider but Di and Wang Chang held on to win the closest final of the day 21-19, 22-20.

For the second straight weekend, Korean players were vying for badminton titles on 3 continents.  In Asia, Son Wan Ho won the Hong Kong Open and former world #1 Yoo Yeon Seong won 2 of Korea’s 3 titles at the Dubai International Challenge, An Se Young and Choi Sol Gyu / Seo Seung Jae took International Series wins in Ireland, but a title in the Americas was not to be.

China, meanwhile, ended up with two individual titles at the World Juniors, to add to the Suhandinata Cup they defended last weekend.  With Di and Wang in particular still having another year of junior to go, the Chinese have convincingly bounced back from last year’s team-title-only performance and announced that badminton powerhouse will continue to be a force regardless of the age category.

Final results
XD:  Leo Rolly Carnando / Indah Cahya Sari Jamil (INA) beat Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto / Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti (INA) [2]  21-15, 21-9
WS:  Goh Jin Wei (MAS) [3] beat Line Christophersen (DEN) [13]  21-13, 21-11
WD:  Liu Xuanxuan / Xia Yuting (CHN) [1] beat Pearly Tan / Toh Ee Wei (MAS) [3]  21-16, 21-16
MD:  Di Zijian / Wang Chang (CHN) [1] beat Shin Tae Yang / Wang Chan (KOR) [10]  21-19, 22-20
MS:  Kunlavut Vitidsarn (THA) [1] beat Kodai Naraoka (JPN)  21-9, 21-11

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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