Two New Junior World Champions Crowned
Jerry Forsyth, WPA Press Officer
Ruslan Chinakhov of Russia and Keng-Chun Lin of Taipei are the new WPA World Junior Champions. The final day of play began with Anja Wagner (GER) defeating Konishi Samia (JPN) 9-7. Then Keng-Chun Lin ended the winning streak of Liz Lovely (USA) by that same 9-7 margin.
This set up the semi-final match between Liz Lovely and Anja Wagner as Keng-Chun Lin awaited the victor to play the championship round. That would be Anja Wagner as she found momentum first and carried her margin to ever-larger numbers that resulted in her winning out 9-5. However, the power that Wagner displayed would not be enough to overcome the skills of Lin. Keng-Chun Lin defeated Ms. Wagner 9-6 to stand atop the podium and receive the gold. Watch out, Ga-Young, Jasmin and Allison. Those footsteps you hear are sure and confident.
This brought the young men out for their final contests. First up were the two undefeated players, Nolle Stefan (GER) and Ruslan Chunakhov (RUS). Chinakhov found his true form and demolished the young German 11-1. The two players who had already suffered one loss were up next and had a much closer battle as Phil Burford (GBR) narrowly bested Kuei-Min Lin (TPE) 11-9.
As Chinakhov rested, Burford and Nolle hit the tables again to see who would face him. This one was a real nail-biter as the two men traded blows and neither faltered until the very end when Burford managed to squeak by with an 11-10 win to win the privilege of facing Chinakhov for the title. While Burford certainly gave a fine accounting of himself, there would be no doubt as to who the champion would be. Ruslan Chinakhov has announced himself with his 11-8 win as a player to be reckoned with on the world stage. Remember the name, you will be hearing it again.