Eric Jouti, oustanding in Senec
Photo By: Mauricio Val
2012 Slovak Junior Open - ITTF Junior Circuit
The unexpected winner of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event at the Latin American Junior and Cadet Championships in the Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias in June 2008; just under four years later Brazil’s Eric Jouti is again springing surprises.
Now 18 years old, the young man who sleeps, eats and breathes table tennis, fears no-one and follows the theory of the bigger they are, the harder they fall, has again stunned adversaries.
Positive, seizing the initiative at every opportunity, he was the shock winner of the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the Slovak Junior Open in the city of Senec on Sunday 20th May 2012.
Occupying the fifth seeded position in the draw, he beat the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Bajger, the no.6 seed, in six games in the quarter-finals (11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8), before totally upsetting the formbook by ousting Hong Kong’s Chiu Chung Hei, the no.2 seed at the semi-final stage (11-9, 11-7, 13-15, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-4).
A place in the Boys’ Singles final booked, the young man from São Paulo maintained his incredible run of form.
Best Ever Performance
He beat Italy’s Leonardo Mutti in five games (9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 14-12, 11-6) to clinch his first ever ITTF Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles title and enjoy what is surely the very best performance of his young career.
It excels anything that has gone before.
In 2010 he represented Brazil in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, finishing in 21st place; his previous best on the ITTF Junior Circuit in Boys’ Singles events being the quarter-finals in Canada in 2009 and in Venezuela in 2010. In Senec he climbed new heights
More than Compensation
The success gained by Eric Jouti more than compensated for the defeat suffered by his compatriot, Hugo Calderano, the no.1 seed in the Boys’ Singles event.
After overcoming Hong Kong’s Hung Ka Tak, the no.8 seed, in the quarter-finals (11-6, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6), he was beaten in the penultimate round by Leonardo Mutti in a close seven games duel (9-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8); the final was in a whisker of being an all Brazilian affair.
Italian Quarter-Final Success
Leonardo Mutti had booked his semi-final place by beating Can Akkuzu of France in the quarter-finals (11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8).
Success in the Boys’ Singles event for Eric Jouti but that was not all; in addition he clinched the Junior Boys’ Doubles title in partnership with Hugo Calderano.
The top seeds, they beat the German partnership of Kilian Ort and Qiu Dang in the final (11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9), having at semi-final stage ousted the combination of Germany’s Florian Shreiner and Serbia’s Boris Mihailovic (7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-9) and one round earlier the host nation’s Martin Jezo and Romain Rezetka (11-3, 11-8, 13-11).
Creditable Performance by German Duo
At the same stages, Kilian Ort and Qiu Dang had beaten Slovenia’s Ludvik Persolja and Patrik Sukic (6-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-6) in the round of the last eight, before booking their place in the final by ousting the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Bajger and Michel Benes (11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9).
Both wins by the German pair were noteworthy; in the third round Ludvik Persolja and Patrik Sukic had beaten Hong Kong’s Chiu Chung Hei and Hung Ka Tak, the no.2 seeds (6-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-6); whilst Ondrej Bajger and Michel Benes were the no.3 seeds.
Noteworthy but take note; Brazil is an increasingly potent force on the international scene and in 2016, hosts the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
No doubt there will be three places for the host nation’s men in the prestigious quadrennial event.
Currently the first team selection is chosen from Hugo Hoyama, Cazuo Matsumoto, Thiago Monteiro and Gustavo Tsuboi but if any of that group is to secure a place in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, they cannot rest on their laurels.
Now look back four years to 2008.
Zhang Jike and Ding Ning made their debuts for the Chinese National Team in 2009, they had played in various tournaments previously to gain experience, but had never gained selection when the first team was called to action.
In 2010, they both became World champions and both will be in action at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Source of Motivation
Winning the Men’s Singles title at the 2013 or 2015 World Championships might be a step too far for Messrs Calderano and Jouti but in 2016, they could well be the leading lights in Brazil and they could unwittingly be the source of motivation for the established players.
There is intense competition developing for places, present levels for the incumbent group may not be good enough to gain Olympic selection.
Alaor Azevedo, the President of the Brazilian Table Tennis Confederation, when writing his Headmaster’s report on the current senior group, might well have to insribe: “only satisfactory, room for improvement”.
The Brazilian selection for 2016?
Hugo Calderano, Eric Jouti and one other; choose from Hugo Hoyama, Cazuo Matsumoto, Thiago Monteiro and Gustavo Tsuboi!