WORLD JUNIORS 2014 Finals – Chen, Huang, and Akane repeat!

China bagged 3 World Junior individual titles for the first time in 7 years, with Chen Qingchen contributing 2 of them in Stadium Abdul Halim, Alor Setar. Story and photos […]

China bagged 3 World individual titles for the first time in 7 years, with Chen Qingchen contributing 2 of them in Stadium Abdul Halim, Alor Setar.

Story and photos by Chee Ying Fan, Badzine Correspondent live in Alor Setar

The Eye Level Cup finals of the individual events attracted more spectators compared to the Suhandinata Cup mixed team final, which was held last Friday.  Once again, though, it was the fans of China with the most to cheer about as Chen Qingchen became only the fifth player to win 3 golds at one World Junior meet, joining in the record books no less than Bao Yixin, Lee Yong Dae, Sang Yang, and Yu Yang.

In the mixed doubles, it was a rematch of the team event finals as Chen Qingchen and Huang Kaixiang once again took on Indonesia’s Muhammad Rian Ardianto / Rosyita Eka Putri Sari.  This time, the reigning champs, China played better as they defeated their opponents in straight games, 21-12, 21-17 showing more confidence than in the team event finals last week, when they needed 3 games to win.

Kaixiang, who had also been the number 1 seed in boys’ doubles with his partner Zheng Siwei, said that he was more motivated to win the mixed doubles match after their quarter-final defeat in doubles to Korea’s Kim Jae Hwan and Kim Jung Ho, whom he and Zheng had beaten in the Asian Junior final.


Girls' singles medallists: (from left) He Bingjiao (CHN, silver), Akane Yamaguchi (JPN, gold), Qin Jinjing (CHN, bronze), Aya Ohori (JPN, bronze) © Chee Ying Fan for Badzine

“When the Indonesians were leading in the 2nd game, we did not give up.  We knew that we had to play better than them and give our best to win,” said Huang.

More glory for Nanjing gold medallists

Another reigning champion, Akane Yamaguchi, was on court next against China’s He Bingjiao. Bingjiao played an effective attacking game to beat Yamaguchi in the 1st game.  However, Yamaguchi manage to find her rhythm in the second and unleashed her sharp strokes to take the next two games and become only the third player in history to win back-to-back World Junior singles titles.  The match was interrupted a while when He had some problems with her leg and requested medical assistance.

“The match today was more difficult than the semi-final match,” said Yamaguchi afterward.  “I was surprised by the way I played in the 1st game.  I was not able to control the shuttle.  However, things became better and my mental strength increased in the second game when we changed ends.  [to the end of the court where her teammates were sitting behind her]”

Already this past autumn, Akane had become the first player to win a World Junior title after winning a Superseries title.  The 16-year-old also now has a chance to match Ratchanok Intanon’s record of 3 World Junior singles titles, if she can win the title again next year.  The modest Yamaguchi stated, however, that she is not thinking of any records but will focus on 1 match at a time.

It was an all-China affair in the boys’ singles, featuring 2nd seed and Asian Junior Champion Shi Yuqi against Asian Youth Games gold medallist Lin Guipu (pictured), who had earlier upset number 1 seed Jonatan Christie in the quarter-finals.  In the absence of their coaches in the coach seats, they had to depend on their own ability and strategy for the match.

The atmosphere was quiet despite the close scoreline as Lin lost the first game narrowly 20-22. The tall underdog won the 2nd game easily, 21-8 with his attacking play and effective jump smashes.  The 3rd game was close with Shi executing his vast variety of shots and forcing Lin to run and dive many times but in the end, it was Lin Guipu who prevailed 21-18.

“It was a tough match.  Shi played very well,” said Lin Lin Guipu.  “I feel happy because China had already secured both the silver and the boys’ singles title.

“Both of us played very well and have equal chance to win the title.  Even if I had lost today, I still would have felt satisfied because I played my best.”

The win came as an early birthday gift for Lin Guipu, who will be celebrating his 17th birthday on April 21st.

Qingchen and Rosyita get back in the ring

China’s Chen Qingchen and Indonesia’s Rosyita Eka Putri Sari were both back in action against one other for the girls’ doubles match.  Again, it was Chen Qingchen who prevailed, this time partnering Jia Yifan (pictured).  The Indonesians found the number 1 seeds – who came in with both the Asian Junior and India Grand Prix Gold titles to their name – too hot to handle, and went down in straight games.

Chen Qingchen thus became the biggest winner of the day and has now tied Ratchanok Intanon, Chan Chong Ming, and Yu Yang’s achievement of 3 individual World Junior Championship titles.  The 16-year-old was clearly filled with joy as she was all smiles, taking pictures with her team-mates and coach after the medal ceremony.

Chen remains humble and said, “It is still a long way to go for my senior career and I have to keep working hard.  There are also strong pairs from Indonesia, Korea and Japan.  I never take my opponents lightly.”

A Thai first

The last match was the boys’ doubles, featuring Thailand’s Puavaranukroh Dechapol / Ketlen Kittinupong (pictured) and Japan’s Masahide Nakata / Katsuki Tamate.  The Thais ended Japan’s gallant run in the tournament.  The unseeded Japanese players earlier upset 2nd seeds, Korea’s Choi Jong Woo / Lee Kwang Eon and a few other seeded pairs en route to the finals.  However, they were not able to keep up with the Thais, who lead all the way in the 1st game.  Motivated by cheers from their team-mates, the Japanese players were leading briefly in the 2nd game but the Puavaranukroh / Ketlen raised their game level to win the first boys’ doubles World Junior title for Thailand.

Final results
XD: Huang Kaixiang / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] beat Muhammad Rian Ardianto / Rosyita Eka Putri Sari (INA) 21-12, 21-17
GS: Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) [1] beat He Bingjiao (CHN) [5/8]  14-21, 21-18, 21-13
BS: Lin Guipu (CHN) [5/8] beat Shi Yuqi (CHN) [2]  20-22, 21-8, 21-18
GD: Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) [1] beat Apriani Apriani / Rosyita Eka Putri Sari (INA) [9/16]  21-11, 21-14
BD: Puavaranukroh Dechapol / Ketlen Kittinupong (THA) [3/4] beat Masahide Nakata / Katsuki Tamate (JPN)  21-16, 21-18

Click here for complete, detailed results


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