Huang Chien-Tu, the winner of four titles in El Salvador
Photo By: Gerardo Lopez
2012 El Salvador Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit
The winner one week earlier in Guatemala, Chinese Taipei’s Huang Chien-Tu repeated his success one week later in neighbouring El Salvador and in fact went two steps further.
In Guatemala on Sunday 12th August 2012, he was to the fore; he won the Junior Boys’ Singles title and with Chen Yen-Heng Cadet Boys’ Doubles gold. However, he was beaten in the semi-finals of the Cadet Boys’ Singles by India’s Anirban Ghosh; having earlier in the proceedings he had to settle for Cadet Boys’ Team silver.
At the El Salvador Junior and Cadet Open, which concluded on Sunday 19th August, he departed with all four available titles.
He left San Salvador, the country's capital city with gold in all four events for which he was eligible: Junior Boys’ Singles, Cadet Boys’ Singles, Cadet Boys’ Team and Cadet Boys’ Doubles.
Cadet Next Year
Throughout the whole four days of competition, the talented 14 year old remained unbeaten; furthermore, born in 1998, he is young enough to compete in cadet age group events in 2013.
Occupying the fourth seeded place in the draw, he overcame India’s Utkarsh Gupta, the no.6 seed, in the quarter-finals (11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7), before ending the hopes of Sweden’s Jonas Stener, the no.7 seed, in the semi-finals (11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 12-14, 11-6, 11-4); a player in form.
One round earlier, the Swede had ousted Argentina’s Pablo Saragovi, the no.2 seed in six games (11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9).
No Early Birthday Present
A place in the final booked, Huang Chien-Tu overcame top seed, Li Yi-Yao, who will celebrate his 18th birthday seven days hence on Sunday 26th August, in four straight games (11-4, 11-3, 11-8, 11-1) to claim the title.
At the quarter-final stage, Lai Yi-Yao had beaten India’s Anirban Ghosh (12-10, 11-8, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8), before accounting for surprise semi-finalist, Mexico’s Jose Villa in the penultimate round (9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5).
Mexican In Form
Earlier Jose Villa had upset the status quo by beating New Zealand’s Kevin Wu, the no.5 seed in the second round (11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 12-10), before recovering from a three games to nil deficit to beat Cuba’s Livan Martinez in the quarter-finals (9-11, 9-11, 2-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8).
Success for Huang Chien-Tu in the Junior Boys’ Singles event and in both the Cadet Boys’ Singles and Cadet Boys’ Doubles events.
The no.2 seed in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, in the latter stages he accounted for India’s Lairin Puia, the no.7 seed, in the quarter-finals (11-13, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3), and Utkarsh Gupta, the no.3 seed and also from India, in the semi-finals (11-3, 11-6, 13-11).
Two impressive performances and he was equally impressive in the final.
Against Sweden’s Simon Berglund, the top seed and the Cadet Boys’ Singles champion one week earlier in Guatemala, he posted a straight games win to secure the title (11-5, 11-9, 11-8).
American Posed Problems
A relatively comfortable path to victory for Huang Chien-Tu but for Simon Berglund it had been somewhat more testing; especially at the quarter-final stage.
He needed the full five games to beat the impressive American, Theodore Tran (11-6, 12-10, 12-14, 5-11, 11-2) before rather more comfortably defeating India’s Birdie Boro, the no.4 seed, the semi-finals (16-14, 11-5, 11-9).
Cadet Boys’ Doubles Gold
Success in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, he partnered 13 year old Chen Yen-Heng to Cadet Boys’ Doubles success, the pair earlier in the week having won the Cadet Boys’ Team title.
The fourth seeds, they beat Sweden’s Hannes Iwarsson and Elias Sibelius, the no.8 seeds in the semi-final (11-8, 11-2, 11-8) before overcoming surprise finalists, the non seeded duo of Cuba’s Livan Martinez and Sweden’s Johan Hesselgren (11-4, 11-8, 11-7).
At the semi-final stage, Livan Martinez and Johan Hesselgren had caused the biggest upset of the event and arguably the biggest of the day.
They beat India’s Birdie Boro and Lairin Puia, the top seeds in a thrilling full distance five games encounter (14-12, 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10), to reserve their place in the final.
More Success for Chinese Taipei
Gold for the top seeds in the Cadet Boys’ Doubles event and it was the same in the Junior Boys’ Doubles where once again, Chinese Taipei was to the fore.
Lai Yi-Yao in partnership with New Zealand’s Kevin Wu, the no.1 seeds, claimed the title. They overcame the sixth seeded Swedish pairing of Vincent Koch and Elias Ranefur in the semi-finals (11-6, 2-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7) before securing the title at the expense of Venezuela’s Jan Medina and Daniel Fuenmayor, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 11-8, 12-10).
Venezuelans in Form
In the counterpart semi-final, Jan Medina and Daniel Fuenmayor had upset the pecking order; they beat Sweden’s Simon Berglund and Jonas Stener, the no.2 seeds, by the very narrowest of margins in the fifth game of a full distance duel (11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 12-10).
Gold for Lai Yi-Yao and Kevin Wu but the day and the El Salvador Junior and Cadet Open belonged to one young man, Huang Chien-Tu; he left San Salvador with four gold medals to add to the two gold, one silver and one bronze, won one week earlier in Guatemala.
Medals in every event he entered on his Central American voyage of discovery; a quite stunning performance.