Her elder brother Tomokazu Harimoto is already making great strides at the international level against much older opponents despite being just 16. And 11-year-old Miwa Harimoto is now signaling that she could well follow in her brother’s footsteps very soon.
Miwa, won the the junior girls’ singles title on at the Czech Junior and Cadet Open in Hodonin, an ITTF World Junior Circuit Premium tournament on Thursday.
More remarkable considering that she to play through the qualifying rounds to make the main draw and achieved it by just dropping a single game in all her matches. The lass is the second youngest ever to win a title in the junior circuit, with another Japanese Mima Ito achieving the feat at the Chinese Taipei Open when she was just 10.
The only blemish on her record run at the tournament was dropping the game against Hungary’s Dorottya Tolyges in the first round. Miwa dropped the third game in her 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4 win.
Earlier in the qualifying tournament, she had topped her group ahead of Croatia’s Ivona Striga, Slovakia’s Laura Vinczeova and the host nation’s Nela Hanakova.
Miwa, showed maturity, as she went on to beat much older opponent in her next matches. She accounted for Sweden’s Nomin Baasan 11-7, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 before beating top seeded Italian Jamila Laurenti 11-9, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 to storm into the semi-final.
Miwa defeated Russia’s Vlada Voronina, the 14th seed 11-9, 11-2, 12-10, 11-3 in the semi-finals before securing the title by beating another Russian, Arina Slautina 11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.
Arina also made it to themain draw from the qualifiers, but just could not match Miwa when it mattered the most. She had defeated third seed Darya Kisel of Belarus 11-8, 11-4, 14-16, 11-9, 16-14 and in the semi-final she had ousted the second seeded Isa Cok of France 12-14, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8.
While she still has plenty to catch up with her elder brother, she can boast of having won a junior title in her first appearance, something that Tomokazu never achieved.