The Young Guns strike back
Date: 1/20/2013 10:18 AM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

Germany, Spain, Japan and the Netherlands! Those were the victorious countries at this year's Swedish International Challenge played in the Swedish capital of Stockholm this week.

One of this year’s favourite player was Japan's young super talent Kento Momota. The reigning world junior champion, who played brilliantly through the Swedish tournament, showed skilled footwork, defense and great tactical awareness.

In the men's singles final, he had to fight a close battle with the more experienced strong European player Eric Pang from the Netherlands, who lost the first game but was able to fight back strongly in the second game. It looked like Pang turned the match around - but in the decider, Kento had a small edge in the deciding rallies and finally took the victory after some brilliant play from both players.

In the prize giving ceremony there was only one question prepared for Kento, as he does not speak any English - and the question prepared in Japanese was "Will you become World Champion one day", and the quick response from Kento was: "Yes, Hai!”.

Swedish hopes Emelie Lennartsson and Emma Wengberg had a tough time in today's finals against young Dutch couple Selena Piek and Iris Tabeling, losing the final against the talents from the Netherlands with 15-21, 16-21. 

The all-Duch affair in the mens doubles final between Koen Ridder/ Ruud Bosch and Jacco Arends/Jelle Maas went to three games with the younger duo Arends/Mass emerging victorious after the gun-smoke had settled.

Apart from getting the gold medal in the woman doubles and the men's doubles event, another Dutch combination, Jelle Maas and Iris Tabeling, brought home a silver medal for their country. Maas/Tabeling lost the mixed doubles final to Germany’s in-form Peter Käsbauser and Isabel Herttrich in two straight games (17-21, 14-21).

The top seed and rising star of European women's singles Carolina Marin of Spain showed no mercy against another young talent, Nicole Schaller from Switzerland. The current European Junior champion won this game in straight games with a comfortable score of 21-6, 21-10. The only time during this tournament she was under any real pressure was in the quarter-final against former SIS-winner Kaori Imabeppu of Japan, who took her into three games.

According to the Swedish organizer, it has been an exciting weekend in Stockholm with a wonderful arrangement and many great matches from talented players from all over the world

30 countries sent their shuttler and the International Challenge (15.000 US Dollars) event will be remembered as a tournament with many interesting upsets and strong performances. Especially from the young and up-and-coming players from Europe and Asia, who many times getting the better even against the older and more experienced tour-players.

Click here for all results of the 2013 Swedish International.

Article and photo by Torbjörn Jansson.

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