WORLD JUNIORS 2016 – China retains team title

  Chen Yufei strikes back against 2015 champion Goh Jin Wei to seal a clean sheet victory for China over Malaysia in Bilbao, Spain. By Wilson Chew.  Photos: Shi Tang […]


Chen Yufei strikes back against 2015 champion Goh Jin Wei to seal a clean sheet victory for China over Malaysia in Bilbao, Spain.

By Wilson Chew.  Photos: Shi Tang / BWF (live)

Malaysia had its work cut out for it in the mixed team final of the ongoing BWF World Championships in Bilbao Spain.  With a Malaysian team appearing in the final tie for only the third time since the team event began in 2000, the fact that only one of China’s 2015 World Champions remained was little advantage given how many of the team’s stalwarts are still in the ranks and the Chinese had given up no matches and only one single game in its five ties en route to the final.

Chen Tang Jie and Man Wei Chong had been the trump card for the Malaysia team when they won their boys’ doubles matches in the quarter-final and semi-final against Indonesia and Thailand, respectively.  However, they were not fielded on Sunday and taking their place in the final were Ameer Amri Zainuddin and Hoo Pang Ron, who it turned out were slated to face Asian Junior Champions Han/Zhou.

The final tie began with Malaysia fielding a scratch mixed doubles pairing of Chen Tang Jie and Thinaah Muralitharan against the 2015 World Junior runners-up and current Asian Junior Champions.  Although the Malaysians won the first game, He Jiting and Du Yue, had better strategy and outwitted the Malaysians in the next 2 games to win the first match for China.

In fact, China’s line-up featured nothing but reigning Asian Junior Champions.  Surprisingly, Lee Zii Jia was not fielded although he is Malaysia’s top boys singles player and taking his place was Leong Jun Hao, who is a year younger and expected to spearhead Malaysia’s World Junior Championships 2017 challenge in Yogjakarta.

Leong tried his best in both games but Sun Feixiang, who was the only Chinese player to drop a game prior to the final tie, did not anywhere near the difficulty he had against Koki Watanabe on Saturday and he won the second match for China.

Girls’ singles pitted the reigning World Junior Champion, Goh Jin Wei, against, naturally, the Asian Junior Champion.  Goh was in a neck-and-neck battle in the first game but Chen Yufei eventually won it 22-20.

In the second game, the Malaysian called for medical assistance twice for attention to cuts on her fingers but she went on aggressively in the second game and won 21-14.

However, it seemed the fight to salvage the tie for Malaysia slipped away quite quickly and Malaysia had to be content with their best ever finish in the team event since 2011 when they were champion in the Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei edition, where the previous champions China were not in attendance to defend their title.

China retained the Suhandinata Cup, winning it for the third straight time.  Goh remains one of the key obstacles to China achieving a medal sweep in the individual events, which they did at the Asian Juniors but which they will attempt to duplicate at the World Juniors for the first time since the 2000 edition.

Final result: China 3, Malaysia 0
XD:  He Jiting / Du Yue (CHN) beat Chen Tang Jie / Thinaah Muralitharan (MAS)  17-21, 21-13, 21-12
MS:  Sun Feixiang (CHN) beat Leong Jun Hao (MAS)  21-15, 21-13
WS:  Chen Yufei (CHN) beat Goh Jin Wei (MAS) 22-20, 14-21, 21-8
MD:  Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong (CHN) vs. Hoo Pang Ron / Ameer Amri Zainuddin (MAS) [not played]
WD:  Du Yue / Xu Ya (CHN) vs. Goh Jin Wei / Thinaah Muralitharan (MAS) [not played]

Click here for complete team event results


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