Kasumi Ishikawa U21 Women's Champion

The Player of the Tournament  so far – the globe-trotting Kasumi Ishikawa won a thrilling Under 21 Ladies Singles Final against Kang Mi Soon (the World no. 39 from Korea). Older followers of the Sport might remember the thrilling play of a 14 year-old Olga Nemes (Romania) in the European Top 12 Tournament in Cleveland, back in 1983. Kishikawa plays as close to the table as Nemes but her forehand is even better. She had to work hard against a determined opponent who had no intention of accepting the second prize. It looked as if the game might have turned in the Korean player’s direction when Kang retrieved a 10-7 deficit in the fourth end to win 13-11. However, Kasumi Ishikawa regrouped and she won the fifth and sixth games for a thrilling 10-12, 11-3, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8 victory. The rapturous applause from the crowd said it all.

Seo Hyun Deok U21 Mens Champion

Korea have a rich tradition in Mens Table Tennis – the 1988 Olympic  Gold and Silver medallists – Yu Nam Gyu and Kim Taek Su and the 2004 Olympic Champion Ryu Seung Min – et al. The two young men who contested  the Under 21 Singles Final displayed the same swash-buckling tendencies and capacity to play away from the table as their famous colleagues. World no. 83 Seo Hyun Deok  retained his title with a very hard-fought 11-8, 16-14, 11-9, 11-5 victory over his higher rated opponent – World no. 59 Kim Min Seok.

Images courtesy tabletennisphotos.com

Steve Kerns