NEW DELHI – A 13-year-old Japanese table tennis prodigy has set his sights on the Tokyo Olympics after he narrowly failed to become the youngest champion in World Tour history in New Delhi.
Fourteenth seed Tomokazu Harimoto lost to top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany 11-6, 11-8, 11-4, 14-12 in the India Open final on Sunday but only took the defeat as his stepping stone to success.
“Was amazing to have such a run to my first World Tour final at 13 years old,” Harimoto said after going down against the 28-year-old Ovtcharov.
“I am disappointed not to win today, but I will use this event as motivation to go home and train even harder to get my first World Tour win and then move on to my overall goal, which is Tokyo 2020 success.”
The reigning junior world champion still has time to match his compatriot Mima Ito, who won the women’s singles title in Germany in 2015 at 14 years and 152 days.
“I am not worried about breaking records, but of course it is nice when they come,” said Harimoto.
However, aged 13 years and 237 days, Harimoto does have the privilege of being the youngest ever World Tour men’s singles finalist after he clashed with his Ukraine-born rival at Delhi’s Thyagaraj Sports Complex.
Harimoto is no stranger to breaking records, becoming the youngest World Tour under-21 champion at just 12 years of age, and the youngest junior world champion at 13.