Asia beats host Chinese team for Gold at ITTF World Cadet Challenge
Asia struck Gold at the 2016 ITTF World Cadet Challenge after winning both the Cadet Boys’ and Girls’ team event against the Chinese host team of young talents today, 25 October 2016, at the Shanghai University of Sports’ Chinese Table Tennis College (CTTC).
The World Cadet Challenge has been known to be the cradle for World Champions, with Grand Slam Champions ZHANG Jike (CHN) & MA Long (CHN) both claiming victory from the first & second edition of the prestigious event respectively, and many top players around the world starting their route to international stardom.
The event which commenced on 24 October, started with eight teams vying for gold: one team from each of the six continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Oceania), a Hopes team (comprised of the best young talent around the world), and China as the Host team, with four boys and four girls in each team.
The Asian girls’ team of Miyuu KIHARA (JPN), HUANG Yingqi (CHN) and LEE Ka Yee (HKG) took on the challenge of the Chinese team of XU Fan, FANG Xiaoyu & CHEN Yi in a heated match in front of the capacity local crowd.
In the cheers and support of the local crowd, the Chinese team trailed closely behind the Asian Team through the match, but were unable to upset the top seeded Asian team, losing 0-3 to settle for silver.
After the team victory, HUANG shared “We are very happy with the victory, this is my first time representing the Asian team in this tournament. I’m very thankful to our team, even though we came from different countries and speak different languages, we are very bonded. Whenever any of us faced any problems during the matches, we will always encourage and cheer for each other.”
As was the case with the girls’ team final, the boys’ team final was a hot contest between top seeded Asian team and the local favorites host team.
Despite the Chinese trio of YIN Tianyue, SONG Zhuoheng and GAO Shentong’s fight to secure Gold in front of their friends & relatives in the arena, the Asian team led by Under-15 world number two Yukiya UDA (JPN) and world number 10 CHO Daesung (KOR) proved too strong for them, and the Asian team secured a convincing 3-0 victory to win the title.
Sealing the final point for the team victory, Yanapong PANAGITGUN (THA) shared “Now I'm happy to win the match, I think it's my lucky year. You know China is a strong team, I played hard tonight. I have to concentrate on the match every minute.”
Europe, who took home the team Gold and Silver respectively at the 2015 World Cadet Challenge in Sharm el-Sheikh last year, failed to advance to the final after losing both semifinals to the eventual Champions.
Recovering from their shock defeat in the semifinals, the European team came back stronger in the Bronze medal match to defeat a spirited North American team 3-0 in the boys’ event and 3-2 in the girls’ event.
With the conclusion of the team event, the cadets get a day to tour the city of Shanghai tomorrow before the commencement of the singles events on 27 October 2016.