Participation in the World Youth Championships is by invitation only for those players ranked high enough to qualify, and Sophie showed what she is really made of at this top-quality event in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.
Sophie reached the last 16 in mixed doubles with partner Daniel Berzosa (Spain) losing out to the eventual winners Sora and Harimoto 4/1. Following that, she paired up with Clea de Stoppeleire (France) against Ivanovo/Terekova (Russia) to claim a 3/2 victory. Next up were the German pair of Kaufmann/Griesel in the quarter final. When Sophie and Clea took the first set and led 8/4 in the second, it looked like a shock was on the cards, but the Germans recovered and eventually won 3/1.
Following the doubles exploits came the prestigious singles event. Sophie defeated Mariana Santa Comba (Portugal) in the last 32 to set up mouthwatering clash with Welsh wizard Anna Hursey. In an epic battle, where the lead was constantly changing, Sophie showed her grit and determination fighting back from 8/10 down in the seventh set to win 13/11 and advance to the quarter final.
Sophie’s run came to an end when she faced Miwa Harimoto (Japan) who is tipped as Japan’s next superstar, following in the footsteps of her famous brother. Harimoto was relentless and although Sophie fought bravely, the Japanese girl won 4/0. Sophie showed good signs in the 3rd set when she had a game point at 11/10, but Harimoto was just too strong on the day.
It was another fine display from Sophie on her table tennis journey and Coach Conn Higgins, who was extremely proud of Sophie’s displays throughout the week, said, “it was both an honour and a privilege to coach Sophie at this prestigious event.