- Published on Sunday, 18 August 2019 16:54
- Written by Andy Yanne
Hong Kong representatives captured five medals in all at this year's National Youth Games in Shanxi that was highlighted by Marvin Lee and Kelly Leung's, 7-5, 4-6, [10-7], victory against Zheng Zhan and Zheng Yizhen (Zhejiang) in the final to secure a gold medal in mixed doubles.
Marvin Lee then teamed up with Tim Gauntlett to capture a silver in men's doubles, while Kelly Leung collaborated with Sheena Masuda for another silver in women's doubles. Bronze medals also went to Gauntlett and Masuda in mixed doubles, as well as Johnny Lee and Oscar Wai in men's doubles.
"We are proud of their achievements on this record breaking medal haul. This will give them a shot in the arm in their pursuit of their tennis goals," enthused HKTA President, Philip Mok.
"It's always a good experience to represent Hong Kong again, even though I'm not satisfied with the result. It was a good learning lesson for us in terms of playing in front of a crowd that was rooting against us, and it was tough," said Tim Gauntlett, who will be competing in next month's Junior Davis Cup World Finals in Florida together with Coleman Wong and Oscar Wai.
"There were many ups and downs throughout the tournament. I didn't start all that well and struggled in singles, but I just kept at it and practiced at night with Keith and Marvin, which definitely turned it around some. I'm glad I got through it and brought a couple of medals home."
In the mixed doubles final, Marvin Lee and Kelly Leung jumped out to a huge 5-0 lead in the third set super-tiebreak and then held six match points at 9-3 before they settled for a 7-5, 4-6, [10-7], victory against Zheng Zhan and Zheng Yizhen (Zhejiang) to capture the coveted gold medal.
On their 6-4, 6-4, semifinal win against No. 2 seed Wen Guanglin and Liu Jing (Sichuan), Leung said: "We didn't have too high an expectation coming in and that actually had a calming effect. All the noise from the crowd and opposing teams here were incredibly loud. The tension was unbelievable. We fell behind in the second, but Marvin played really well towards the end especially on the big points just when we needed to, and we took advantage of our opportunities."
"Very happy that I managed to win a gold and a silver, especially having such supportive teammates around the entire time. All in all, a fantastic experience on this trip," said Marvin Lee.
However, the HK duo would not be standing on the podium today if not for the hard-fought, 6-3, 6-7(5), [11-9], victory over Chen Rongjun and Zhou Yehua (Guangdong) back in the opening round, as they were merely two points away from an unceremonious early exit. Then, the pair endured another close encounter in the quarterfinals against Liang Tian and Nong Xinyi (Yuxi) and needed another super-tiebreak to prevail, 3-6, 6-2, [11-9].
In men's doubles, No. 2 seed Tim Gauntlett and Marvin Lee beat Li Yangxuan and Qin Zhenchang (Sichuan), 6-4, 6-3, in the semis to guarantee themselves at least a silver medal. However, the HK reps could not overcome No. 1 seed Wen Guanglin and Wen Guangsen (Sichuan) in the ensuing final and went down, 6-2, 6-3. Gauntlett: "It's a pity we couldn't get over the last hurdle. I think we're a little physically and mentally drained at the end there."
Wen Guanglin is the highest-ranked player in the men's draw, seeded first in men's singles and doubles, and currently China's third-best player in the under-16 age group.
In women's doubles, Sheena Masuda and Kelly Leung, seeded No. 2, battled past fourth seed Yao Xinxin and Xu Jiayu (Suzhou) just in the nick of time, 6-4, 1-6, [10-8], in the semifinals. Leung: "The match was so close, honestly. We were down 8-6 in the third and felt things might be slipping away from us a little, but they got tight towards the end and we managed to take our chances when it mattered."
In the final, however, the HK duo was outclassed by Wei Sijia and Zhang Jin (Wuhan) in a 6-0, 6-1, defeat. Wei is by far the highest-ranked player in the women's draw at No. 147, but she already reached a career-high No. 69 back in January. Moreover, Wei held a WTA singles ranking high of No. 747 just two months ago.
Johnny Lee recorded the best showing in singles when he reached the men's quarterfinals before No. 1 seed Wen Guanglin beat him in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Representing Hong Kong at the 2nd National Youth Games this year were:
Under-16s (Division 1)
Tim Gauntlett, Johnny Lee, Marvin Lee, Oscar Wai, Kaye Au-Yeung, Abby Fung, Kelly Leung & Sheena Masuda
Under-14s (Division 2)
Max Kwok, Henry Lau, Curtis Tan, Alan Wang, Apple Chan, Erica Hagi, Jenny Leung & Michelle Wong
The National Youth Games is formerly known as the National Intercity Games (NIG). In 2013, the 8th National Intercity Games was officially renamed as the 1st National Youth Games to align with the Youth Olympic Games. First held in 1988, the National Intercity Games was a quadrennial, national multi-sports event aimed at identifying talented athletes and promoting sports development at a city-wide level. Unlike the All China Games, all of the participating units of the National Intercity Games were cities. This year, the Hong Kong delegation consisted of some 620 athletes competing in 27 sporting events.
Athletes from Hong Kong first competed at the 4th National Intercity Games in Xian in 1999. Hong Kong first sent tennis players to the NIG in 2003 when Brian Hung immediately won a gold medal in men's singles. At the 7th NIG in Nanchang in 2011, Brian Yeung claimed a silver medal in men's singles. Then, at the 1st National Youth Games in 2015, Claudia Ng and Venia Yeung teamed up to win a bronze in women's doubles.
2nd National Youth Games
Taiyuan City, Shanxi
August 8 -18, 2019
|Division 1 (Under-16)|
|Gold||Marvin Lee/Kelly Leung (HKG)|
|Silver||Zheng Zhan/Zheng Yizhen (Zhejiang)|
|Bronze||Tim Gauntlett/Sheena Masuda (HKG)|
|Bronze||Wen Guanglin/Liu Jing (Sichuan)|
|Gold||Wen Guanglin/Wen Guangsen (Sichuan)|
|Silver||Tim Gauntlett/Marvin Lee (HKG)|
|Bronze||Johnny Lee/Oscar Wai (HKG)|
|Bronze||Li Yangxuan/Qin Zhenchang (Sichuan)|
|Gold||Wei Sijia/Zhang Jin (Wuhan)|
|Silver||Sheena Masuda/Kelly Leung (HKG)|
|Bronze||Liu Leyi/Zhou Yehua (Guangdong)|
|Bronze||Yau Xinxin/Xu Jiayu (Suzhou)|