China won a record-extending 14th BWF World Junior Mixed Team Championships title, taking the Suhandinata Cup with a 3-1 result over Indonesia.
With their reversal of the 2019 final in which they had lost to Indonesia by the same margin, China took home the title after a five-year gap (The championships weren’t held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Team head coach Guo Zhendong acknowledged that their quarterfinal exit at the last edition had forced a relook at their approach.
“This year our draw wasn’t ideal as we were drawn along with Korea, but we came in with a positive mindset,” said Guo.
“We haven’t won the title since 2018. So the losses we experienced (in 2019 and 2022), we felt we needed to prove something as a team. When we left for the tournament, our coaches and those who competed last year reminded us of the loss and that definitely motivated us. Our performance at the Asian Juniors wasn’t good as well, but we set our minds on this one.”
Indonesia did provide a strong challenge in the final, but their inconsistency would hurt them. Jonathan Farrell Gosal/Priskila Venus Elsadai had their chances at taking the opening game against Liao Pin Yi/Zhang Jia Han in the mixed doubles, but once that opportunity was lost, the momentum shifted decisively. Zhang Jia Han was the standout, expertly controlling the game, and China were up and running with the 1-0 lead.
Alwi Farhan had stepped in at the same position in men’s singles in last year’s quarterfinal, and just as he’d done then, steadied the ship for Indonesia. It was a long-drawn battle against the hard-hitting Hu Zhe An; Farhan was particularly impressive at the front, using tight net shots to gain the advantage, 21-15 19-21 21-13.
“Big effort today because it went to three games. But I’m very happy because I could get the win for Indonesia,” said Farhan.
“I had trouble with the wind when we changed over in the third game. I found it hard to keep the shuttle within the lines; it kept going out, so I played it at the net and could get the lift.”
“Definitely it was a long and tiring match,” said Zhu. “I had to keep my emotional stability because it was a high-pressure match. I have always dreamt of helping the team win the title, but we had to keep winning throughout the tournament to come to this point.”
Zhu Yi Jun, who was part of China’s team that had lost last year’s quarterfinal, partnered Ma Shang and the Chinese duo were just too strong for Muhammad Al Farizi/Nikolaus Joaquin, wrapping up the contest in just 37 minutes.
“Over the last year there have been winning moments and losing moments; the mindset I brought in was to play one match at a time. This is not just my win, but that of the whole team. Last year’s loss was in the past; I came in with a fresh mindset.”