Table tennis: S’pore’s Izaac Quek, Ser Lin Qian win 3 bronzes at world youth c’ships

Singapore's Ser Lin Qian (left) and Izaac Quek won three bronze medals at the Dec 2-8 World Youth Table Tennis Championships in Portugal. PHOTO: SINGAPORE TABLE TENNIS ASSOCIATION

SINGAPORE - National youth paddlers Izaac Quek and Ser Lin Qian have won three bronze medals at the Dec 2-8 ITTF World Youth Championships in the biggest haul for Singapore at the tournament.

On Wednesday (Dec 8), boys' Under-15 world No. 3 Izaac lost 4-0 (11-8, 12-10, 12-10, 11-8) to Japan's Sora Matsushima in the boys' U-15 singles semi-final in Portugal to pick up a shared bronze with France's top-ranked Felix Lebrun.

After receiving a first-round bye, Izaac beat local favourite, 50th-ranked Tiago Abiodun, 4-1 (11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5) in the round of 16, before sweeping 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.

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

Similarly, girls' Under-15 world No. 5 Lin Qian lost 4-1 (11-6, 12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7) to Japan's Miwa Harimoto in the girls' U-15 singles semi-final and shared a bronze with India's third-ranked Saini Suhana.

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).

Lin Qian said: "I'm glad to have the chance to play in this tournament where many top young players are participating and end my U-15 competitions with a podium finish.

"Regardless of the results, every match was a tough one. Hopefully with the experience and exposure, I'll be able to train harder and come back stronger."

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.

Sora would also prove to be Singapore's scourge in the boys' doubles. Izaac and Taiwanese Chang Yu-an 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 3-0 (11-9, 14-12, 11-7) to eventual champions Sora and Felix Lebrun in the semi-finals to settle for a shared bronze with Romanians Alexandru Bujor and Iulian.

Singapore's previous best result at this tournament was in 2019, when Koen Pang and Josh Chua clinched an U-18 boys' doubles bronze.

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