Hong Kong’s juniors score their best ever haul at the table tennis World Championships in Cape Town

Hong Kong’s junior paddlers return from Cape Town with their best ever result at the World Championships with Mak Tze-wing clinching a silver medal in the girls’ singles

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 December, 2016, 10:59am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 December, 2016, 11:44am

Hong Kong’s junior paddlers returned with their best ever result in the World Championships with Mak Tze-wing clinching a silver medal in the girls’ singles in Cape Town on Monday night.

Making her last appearance in the junior level (under-18), Mak came all the way through the 64-player to reach the final where she only lost to Shi Xunyao from world powerhouse China after putting up four close games, including two games after deuce.

But her effort has already won Hong Kong their best ever result, which included four bronze medals in the boys’ singles, the girls’ team and two girls’ doubles all of which involved Mak.

“We came to the worlds with sights set on the team event for a medal and we are very happy to reach our target,” said Mak, whose team also includes Minnie So Wai-yam, Liu Qi and Wong Chin-yau. “We won two medals in the doubles and this is due to largely to our regular appearances on the world tour. We are very eager to prove we are at Asia or world level and we did it.

“In the singles, I tried to enjoy every match since this would be my last time to play in the junior worlds and did not think too much about the result. The standard is very close with so many quality players from around the world but I was able to take the opportunity to test myself against these strong players.”

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China has never not won the girls’ singles title since the annual junior worlds was introduced in 2003, including the 2005 trophy captured by Ding Ning, the newly crowned Rio Olympic champion and runner-up in London four years ago to compatriot Li Xiaoxia, the 2003 doubles champion.

For Hong Kong, this was their sixth bronze medal in the girls’ team event since 2009 but they have never achieved a medal in the girls’ singles.

Lee Ho-ching and Ng Wing-nam, now both members of the senior team, took bronze in the doubles in 2009.

Coach Li Ching paid tribute to Mak, saying his young charge had made great progress and was to able rise to the occasion.

“She has beaten some of the players that she never beat before in Cape Town,” said the coach. “The hard work paid off and it proved she has improved a lot. Mak was playing her last junior worlds, the same as So and Liu but the girls did a great job in the team event by keeping our good track record and enjoyed a perfect ending.

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“Minnie also did well in the singles and I felt sorry for her after losing to champion Shi in the round of 16. She and Mak are very strong in the doubles and it came as little surprise for them to win their bronze medal but the other pair of Liu and Wong captured the momentum in the team event to achieve a spirited performance in the doubles.”

The Hong Kong pair stunned their mainland opponents, Liu Weishan and Sun Yizhen, 3-2 in the round of 16 and continued their fine form by smashing their South Korean opponents 4-0 in the next round, only to be halted by the eventual champions from Romania in the semi-finals.