Indian girls join boys in qualifying for World championship;

Indian girls scored resounding victories in “grudge” matches over Singapore and Hong Kong to grab the fifth and final qualifying spot for the World junior championship on a day when China expectedly swept all four team titles in the 17th Asian junior table tennis championship here on Friday.

More than China winning the boys title for the eighth time and the girls crown for the 16th time in 17 final appearances, the heartening news from the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium was that for the first time, the two junior teams from India were among the qualifiers for the World junior championship scheduled to be held in Bahrain later this year.

Though the home boys lost to China in the semifinals, they matched India's bronze-winning performances of 1999 and 2010. The Indian girls had last qualified in 2006 by taking the bronze at Kitakyushi, Japan.

In fact, in 1999, the Indian juniors had finished third in both sections but that was before the inception of the World junior championship.

Creditably, the trio of Mallika Bhandarkar, Manika Batra and Reeth Rishya Tennison contributed their bit to avenge the defeats suffered to Singapore and Hong Kong in the league stage.

Coming back to the title-matches, the Chinese girls and boys gave nothing away. They won all finals with identical 3-0 margins to once again demonstrate the difference in class between them and the rest.

In the boys' final, China persisted with its unchanged combination of Lin Gaoyuan, Wu Jiaji and Yin Hang, ranked second, fourth and 18th in the world, to take care of the second seed Japan, which managed just two sets.

The girls, led by World junior champion Zhu Yuling, defending champion Gu Yuting and Zhao Yan, with world rankings of fifth, third and seventh, toyed with their Korean rivals who had upstaged Japan in the semifinals.

The results (team championship): Junior boys: Final: China beat Japan 3-0 (Lin Gaoyuan bt Asuka Sakai 11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 11-8; Wu Jiaji bt Maharu Yoshimura 16-14, 11-7, 11-8; Yin Hang bt Yuto Muramatsu 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7). Semifinals: China beat India 3-0 (Lin Gaoyuan bt Harmeet Desai 11-7, 11-7, 11-6; Wu Jiaji bt Soumyajit Ghosh 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9; Yin Hang bt G. Sathiyan 11-6, 11-8, 11-6); Japan bt Korea 3-1.

Junior girls: Final: China beat Korea 3-0 (Gu Yuting bt Choi Jung Min 11-3, 11-4, 11-5; Zhu Yuling bt Lee Dasom 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 14-12; Zhao Yan bt Kang Kanuel 11-8, 11-6, 12-10). Semifinals: China bt Chinese Taipei 3-0; Korea bt Japan 3-1.

For places 5-8: India beat Singapore 3-2 (Reeth Rishya Tennison bt Chau Hai Qing 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7; Manika Batra lost to Li Isabelle Siyun 16-14, 5-11, 10-12, 11-13; Mallika Bhandarkar bt Leong Yau Yeak Aldrea 11-8, 11-7, 11-5; Reeth lost to Siyun 11-4, 2-11, 6-11, 2-11; Manika Batra bt Chau Hai Qing 11-5, 11-7, 11-8). India beat Hong Kong 3-1 (Manika Batra bt Li Ching Wan 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9; Reeth Rishya Tennison bt Ng Ka Yee 11-4, 12-10, 1-11, 11-9; Mallika Bhandarkar lost to Lo Lok Yee 7-11, 8-11, 8-11; Manika bt Ng Ka Yee 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8).

Cadet boys: Final: China beat Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Zhou Kai bt Liao Cheng-Ting 11-5, 12-10, 11-6; Zhou Qihao bt Yang Heng-Wei 11-7, 11-4, 14-12; Zhou Qihao and Yu Ziyang bt Liao Cheng-Ting and Yang Heng-Wei 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5). Semifinals: China bt Korea 3-0; Chinese Taipei 3-0.

Cadet girls: Final: China beat Korea 3-0 (Liu Gaoyang bt Lee Zion 11-7, 11-8, 11-8; Zhu Chaohui bt Kim Jisun 11-4, 11-9, 11-8; Fan Siqi and Zhu Chaohui bt Lee Zion and Lee Seul 11-8, 11-3, 11-9). Semifinals: China bt Chinese Taipei 3-0; Korea bt Hong Kong 3-2.

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