Thirty-one years since the start of the BWF World Junior Championships, Indonesia finally have their first men’s singles champion!
Alwi Farhan kept his composure all through a final in which fortunes swung either way, completing the victory over China’s Hu Zhe An in 65 minutes. The Indonesian banked on his finesse at the net to keep the pressure on Hu, and from midway in the third game the Chinese lost his way, falling , 21-19 19-21 21-14.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Farhan. “I’m so grateful. When I was young I always dreamed of this moment and now I’ve become champion.
“The front court was the key to winning the match.
“In today’s match, I had to believe in myself in the third game, because I think in the final, it’s not about skill, but about mental strength.”
Indonesia also had a finalist in women’s singles, but Chiara Marvella Handoyo appeared hobbled by pain in her legs and couldn’t mount much of a challenge.
Pink’s Tribute to Grandfather
Sixteen-year-old Thai ‘Pink’ Pitchamon Opatniputh fulfilled a promise she’d made to herself after the death of her grandfather last year, taking the women’s singles title.
Opatniputh’s grandfather had passed away just before she left for the World Junior Championships last year, and she invoked his memory as soon as she came away after securing the crown, with an easy win over a struggling Handoyo.
The Indonesian appeared to be struggling physically and had no answer to Opatniputh as she went down in just 34 minutes, 21-11 21-9.
“I feel so proud of myself and I’d like to thank everyone cheering for me,” said Opatniputh. “I feel the pressure is lesser now, and I want to say that I could do it for my grandpa because last year I tried to do it for him but I could not, but this year I could. My grandpa was my guide and my friend.
“I didn’t go in with any expectations. Before I played, I was ready to accept a loss too.”
USA Run Out of Steam
Birthday girl Taguchi had a great match, and with able support from Tamaki, the Japanese seized the initiative at the right moments to take the title, 12-21 21-13 21-15.
China’s Zhu Yi Jun was in line for a four-title haul following his double at the last edition, but his ambitions were dashed in the mixed doubles, with compatriots Liao Pin Yi and 16-year-old Zhang Jia Han saving match point on the way, 21-10 16-21 24-22.
Zhu however made amends in the men’s doubles with Ma Shang, as the fourth seeds outgunned Chinese Taipei’s Lai Po Yu/Tsai Fu Cheng 17-21 21-17 21-15.