Harimoto becomes youngest champ at ITTF event

At 12 years and 355 days, Tomokazu Harimoto became the youngest winner of an ITTF World Tour under-21 event. "I want to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics," he said.

Tomokazu Harimoto is over the moon after becoming the youngest to win the 2016 ITTF World Tour Laox Japan Open.   -  ITTF

Tomokazu Harimoto has become the youngest winner of an ITTF (Interantional Table Tennis Federation) World Tour under-21 event at 12 years of age, moving one step closer to his dream of winning gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Hashimoto easily beat Kohei Sambe, an 18-year-old college student, 11-1, 11-6, 13-11 to triumph at the 2016 International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Laox Japan Open on Friday in Tokyo.

The young Japanese star broke the previous age record of 15, set by compatriot Koki Niwa in 2010, by claiming gold in the under 21 event as he was 12 years and 355 days old.

Harimoto dominated the game from the outset and let out a whoop of triumph while bending his body backward after securing the win.

"I was so nervous yesterday when I heard that I would be the youngest winner," Harimoto said after the final.

"But when the game began, I was able to play as I usually do," he added.

"I think I have made progress as I beat a lot of higher-ranking players," he said, "I'm happy to win under pressure."

The 12-year-old, though delighted with the crown, was already looking ahead to a tougher goal in four years when the country hosts the Summer Games.

"I want to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics," he said.

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