by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notable names on duty but arguably the most notable is that of Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam; listed at no.10 of the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, she is the second highest rated player in action.
The highest listed is Japan’s Maki Shiomi, named at no.8 but the global status is not the vital factor in Szombathely; the vital factor is to gain points on the ITTF Junior Circuit Girls’ Standings.
Hungary is the concluding tournament on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit; success could tip the scales in gaining one of the precious 16 places available at the Finals to be held in the Indian city of Indore in January.
Good performances in Szombathely and both Maki Shiomi and Minnie Soo Wai Yam may well cement their places in Indore. Minnie Soo Wai Yam will be competing in her third ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament of the year; the key factor is that it will be her first outside Asia.
Earlier in the year she was the runner up in Hong Kong, the winner in Chinese Taipei; in order to meet the criteria to compete in the Finals, a player must compete in a minimum of two continents, by playing in Szombathely Minnie Soo Wai Yam meets the necessary criteria.
Presently Minnie Soo Wai is named at no.10 on the ITTF World Junior Circuit Girls’ Standings but with China’s Qianyi and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz being in the immediate two higher places, each having only competed in only one continent and not being in action in Hungary; in effect Minnie Soo Wai Yam is in eighth spot.
Play to form and Minnie Soo Wai Yam may well be Indore bound; for Maki Shiomi, it is a different scenario.
Only two players per national association are permitted in the Finals. Maki Shiomi is one of four Japanese girls listed in the top six names in Szombathely. Furthermore, although the top seed, she is the fourth in line on the Standings!
Winner in France, Sweden, Portugal and Slovenia, Yuko Kato, the no.6 seed, leads the Standings with Kana Takeuchi in second spot and Miyu Nagasaki at no.5; Maki Shiomi is at no.6.
In Szombathely, Miyu Nagasaki, who won in Spain, is the third seed, followed immediately by Kana Takeuchi, the winner in the Czech Republic. Quite amazingly for Kana Takeuchi and Yuko Kato, it will be their 10th appearance of the year on the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit.
Title holders and with eyes on Indore, Romania’s Andreea Dragoman, the winner in Bahrain, is the no.6 seed with Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing, Spain’s Zhang Xuan and Chinese Taipei’s Fang Sih-Han completing the leading names.
Mak Tze-Wing won in Thailand, Fang Sih-Yan succeeded in Jordan; alas for Zhang Xuan, the distinction in 2016 has yet to be achieved. It is a daunting task; she in illustrious company.
Play commences in Szombathely with the first stage of the Junior Girls’ Singles event; the leading 16 players receive direct entries to the main draw.
Live streaming from the Hungarian Junior and Cadet Open – Day One