by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
First staged in Stockholm in 2002 when China’s Qiu Yike and Chang Chenchen won the respective Boys’ Singles and Girls’ Singles events, it will be the 15th edition of the tournament.
Times have changed but the principles which were witnessed in the inaugural tournament are very much the same; a group phase followed by knock-out. The difference now is that 16 players compete in each of the Boys’ Singles and Girls’ Singles events, in 2002 it was half the number but as in the modern day, the initial phase witnessed four players per group.
In 2002, players finishing in first and second places in each group advanced to the main draw; the same applies nowadays, only it is to the quarter-finals, not as in Stockholm, the semi-finals.
Additionally, the modern version includes a consolation knock-out competition for those who conclude the group phase in third and fourth places; there was no such event in the inaugural gathering.
Meanwhile for Indore and India, there is a moment of history; Indore becomes the only city to host the event twice, India the only country to play host on three occasions. They now move one ahead of Sweden and Portugal.
In addition to 2002, Sweden hosted proceedings in 2008 when Helsingborg was the home; Portugal bid welcome in Funchal in 2004 and in Vilanova de Gaia for the 2013 version.
Additional to one year ago, India was also the destination in 2010, on that occasion the ITTF World Cadet Challenge was staged alongside the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals.
Now as in the original edition and, ever since the 2012 Finals, held in the small Central American country of Guatemala in January 2013, the event stands in its own right.
Furthermore, Japan must relish the thought of a return to India.
In Hyderabad, Masaki Yoshida and Kasumi Ishikawa won the respective Boys’ Singles and Girls’ Singles event; last year in Indore, the Boys’ Singles title was secured by Takuto Izukmo. The Girls’ Singles crown was donned by Hong Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu.