by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Last year on the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit, Gerritt Engemann and Jannik Xu achieved creditable results; Gerritt Engemann made five appearances, notably reaching the quarter-final stage in France. Somewhat similarly, Jannik Xu was in action on one more occasion, he advanced to the penultimate round in Poland.
In Hodonin, it is an opportunity for Kay Stumper and Meng Fanbo to measure their progress; they have yet to advance to the latter stages of an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament.
However, the player with the experience of success, the one player to have won an ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles title is the player on whom the hopes of the host nation rest.
Jiri Martinko, who made seven appearances in 2016, emerged as the Junior Boys’ Singles champion in Serbia when he beat colleague Patrick Klos in the final; he is the one player on duty in Hodonin who has such a title in his repertoire.
Meanwhile, for two further notable names on duty, the scenario has been very much the same as that of the German quartet.
Denmark’s Andreas Dilling and Hungary’s Istvan Molnar, the respective fourth and fifth highest rated players on duty, being next in line to Jiri Martinko, have yet to reach the latter round of an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament.
Somewhat conversely, the next in line, Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica and Italy’s Antonio Amato have threatened but just fallen short. In 2016 Andrei Putuntica was the runner up in Italy, Antonio Amato, a quarter-finalist in both Poland and Italy.
Poland’s Kamil Nalepa, yet to advance to the latter round, completes the leading names; he is the eighth highest rated on duty, one place behind Jannik Xu.