James and Emily Whitlock celebrate English Pioneer double!

Declan James (pic le) and Emily Whitlock (pic ri) celebrated an English double in the U19 finals of the Pioneer Junior Open in Cologne. James, the 18-year-old favourite, comfortably reached the men’s final without dropping a game – while his Belgium opponent Tom de Mulder conceded one game in the quarter-finals against German U19 Champion Valentin Rapp. In the final James dispatched De Mulder 11-3, 11-8, 11-9. With the English, French and European Junior titles to her credit already this year, Emily Whitlock came to Cologne as firm favourite for the women’s Pioneer trophy. The 17-year-old did not disappoint – romping through to the final after the loss of just 32 points in 4 rounds. But her opponent Maria Elena Ubina had battled through to the climax unseeded, after stunning upsets over the 6th and 7th seeds – and England’s No2 seed Brogan Lane in the quarter-finals. Whitlock was too strong for Ubina in the final, beating the 16-year-old 11-6, 11-4, 11-5.