by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Japan’s Yu Kayama and Aoto Asazu alongside Moldova’s Andrei Putintica are the players in question; all three have fallen just one step short of achieving the ultimate goal.
Yu Kayama was the runner up in Sweden beaten by Austria’s Andreas Levenko; in the Slovak Republic Aoto Asazu experienced defeat at the hands of Germany’s Tobias Hippler; whilst earlier in the year in Italy the nemesis for Andrei Putintica was Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic.
In Varazdin, Yu Kayama and Aoto Asazu occupy the respective top two seeded positions in the Junior Boys’ Singles event. Presently Yu Kayama is listed at no.28 on the Under 18 Boys’ World Junior Rankings, Aoto Asazu is at no.50.
Place on Standings
Both are making no less than their ninth appearance of the year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit and, despite as yet no Junior Boys’ Singles title to their credit, they are very much in contention for an invitation to the prestigious Finals to be staged next January in the Indian city of Indore.
Presently Aoto Asazu is named at no.9 on the Boys’ Standings; Yu Kayama is one place lower.
Andrei Putintica is the fourth seed, one place below Ioannis Sgouropoulos of Greece, a player who has yet to make an impact on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit.
He has made just one appearance to date, he departed proceedings in the third round of the Junior Boys’ Singles event when in action in the Czech Republic.
Currently on the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, Ioannis Sgouropoulos is at no.54, Andrei Putintica is at no.74.
Both are major challengers for honours, as is Italy’s Matteo Mutti, the next name in the order of merit.
A semi-finalist on home soil in Italy, he is listed at no.87 on the current Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings being ahead of Japan’s Takeru Kashiwa in the Varazdin order of merit; Chinese Taipei’s Li Hsing-Yang and Feng Yi-Hsin who complete the top eight names.
Takeru Kashiwa, like Yu Kayama and Aoto Asazu, is making his ninth appearance on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit; his best being a quarter-final finish in the Slovak Republic.
The end of the road in the last eight; it was the same for Feng Yi-Hsin in Thailand and Chinese Taipei. Meanwhile, for Li Hsin-Ying, he has yet to establish his name on the international scene; his best is a second round exit on home soil in Chinese Taipei.
A total of 101 boys will compete in Varazdin of whom 70 will play in the Junior Boys’ Singles event.