# Kim Ga-eun overcomes cramps to deliver winning point for Koreans
# Heartbreak for second seeds Thailand
# Champions China to play Koreans for the title for the fourth year running
South Korea, runners-up to China in the last three editions will get another crack at the title – thanks to Kim Ga-eun who delivered two crucial points in their 3-1 win over second seeds Thailand in the semi-finals in the SCG Badminton Asia Junior Championships on Monday.
In Tuesday’s final the “ginseng powered” Koreans will face mighty China who have won the mixed team title for the last three years – defeating Korea on each occasion. Earlier the Chinese walked away with a 3-0 win over Japan in their semi-final encounter.
Korea, seeded eighth this year, stunned the Thais, who were backed by a vociferous home crowd at the CPB Badminton and Sports Science Center in Bangkok.
Kim Ga-eun delivered Korea’s second point with gutsy performance in the girls’s singles when she upset Pornpawee Chochuwong 17-21, 25-23, 21-19 in a 74 minute three-set thriller which lasted 74 minutes. Korea had earlier won the first point through the boys’ doubles with Kang Min-hyuk-Kim Won-ho winning 21-17, 21-13 against Warit Sarapat-Panchai Worasaktyanan in 32 minutes.
However, Thailand pulled themselves back into the picture when Kantaphon Wangcharoen defeated Korea’s Kim Moon-jun 21-17, 22-20 to make it 2-1 and the chance to fightback.
However, Ga-eun and Kim Hyang-im delivered the killer punch for the winning point in the girls’ doubles against Ruethaochanok Laisuan-Alisa Sapniti with a 21-12, 22-20 win in 44 minutes.
Ga-eun’s performance was simply “incredible” – especially after taking the court about an hour after her win in the singles. The doubles match took the toll on Ga-eun who fought severe cramps in her legs in the last minutes of the match but she did enough to ensure a Korean victory that gave them a chance to dethrone China in the final.
The cramps were painful but the tears of joy were written on her face and Korean team manager Kim Hak-kyun hailed as the heroine who made it possible for a crack at the title.
“Expect us to give another strong performance,” said Hak-kyun of his team after the win over the Thais.
Earlier in the morning in the quarter-finals China were too strong for Malaysia with a 3-0 win while the Koreans overcame Indonesia 3-1 and Japan ran out 3-0 winners over India. Thailand defeated Hong Kong 3-1 to advance to the last four.
China coach Chu Wei Lun, pleased with the manner in which the Chinese have come through this far in the mixed team event, said: “Of course to win the title for the fourth time will be wonderful it was not an easy journey as teams like Korean, Japan, Indonesia, India and even Hong Kong have shown that they are coming up with their juniors.
“Of course it will be nice to beat the Koreans in the final again after winning our last three finals. It will be a tough match as we have seen the Koreans showing plenty of fighting spirit and their win over Indonesia in the quarter-finals showed that,” said Wei Lun.
China 3 Japan 0
Sun Feixiang beat Koki Watanabe 17-21, 21-16, 21-19
Han Chengkai-Zhao Haodong beat Hiroki Okamura-Masayuki Onodera 21-17, 21-8
Du Yue-He Jiting beat Matsuyama-Hiroki Okamura 21-13, 21-14
South Korea 3 Thailand 1
Kim Moon Jun lost to Kantaphon Wangcharoen 17-21, 20-22
Kang Min-hyuk-Kim Won-ho beat Warit Sarapat-Panachai Worasaktyanan 21-17, 21-13
Kim Ga-eun beat Pornpawee Chochuwong 17-21, 25-23, 21-19
Kim Ga-eun-Kim Hyang-im beat Ruethaichanok Laisuan-Alisa Sapniti 21-12, 22-20