Table tennis: S'pore's Izaac Quek, Ser Lin Qian chase World Youth C'ships history

SINGAPORE – National youth paddler Izaac Quek has won the Under-15 boys’ doubles bronze at the ongoing ITTF World Youth Championships in Portugal and has now set his sights on creating history in the singles on Wednesday (Dec 8).

Teaming up with Taiwanese Chang Yu-an, the duo received a first-round bye and beat Brazil’s Leonardo Kenzo and American Nandan Naresh 3-1 (11-6, 12-14, 11-4, 11-7) in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

However, they lost to eventual champions Japan’s Sora Matsushima and France’s Felix Lebrun 3-0 (11-9, 14-12, 11-7) in the semi-finals at the Pavilhao Desportivo Municipal de Vila Nova de Gaia to settle for a shared bronze with Romanians Iulian Chirita and Alexandru Bujor.

Singapore’s previous best result at this tournament was an U-18 boys’ doubles bronze won by Koen Pang and Josh Chua in 2019.

Izaac, 15, said: “This is a good start to the competition and I hope to bring this success to my singles event.”

The Singapore Sports School student is also playing in the U-15 boys’ singles. After receiving a first-round bye, the world No. 3 (U-15 boys) beat Portugal’s 50th-ranked Tiago Abiodun 4-1 (11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5) in the round of 16.

In the quarter-finals, he swept Belgium’s world No. 6 Tom Closset 4-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5) to set up a final-four meeting against 152nd-ranked Sora on Wednesday.

Despite his low ranking, Sora had taken out world No. 2 Iulian and Spain’s world No. 11 Daniel Berzosa in the earlier rounds.

Similarly, Izaac’s team-mate Ser Lin Qian is also assured of a U-15 girls’ singles medal after progressing to the semi-finals where she will meet 13-year-old Miwa Harimoto on Wednesday.

While she is unranked, the Japanese is the highly rated younger sister of men’s world No. 5 Tomakazu, who finished second at the World Table Tennis Cup Finals in Singapore on Tuesday.

After a first-round bye, U-15 girls’ singles world No. 5 Lin Qian beat Belarus’ 14th-ranked Veranika Varabyova 4-2 (12-10, 10-12, 11-2, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7) and Germany’s world No. 2 Annett Kaufmann 4-2 (4-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7).

Izaac and Lin Qian also teamed up for the U-15 mixed doubles but lost 3-0 (11-5, 11-9, 11-8) to eventual champions Sora and Miwa in the round of 16 on Saturday.

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