by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Quarter-finalist last year in Thailand as well as on home soil in Chinese Taipei and Croatia; Feng Yi-Hsin is the leading name on duty but arguably the player on whom to focus is Li Hsin-Yang.
Earlier this year in the Indian city of Indore, he won the Boys’ Singles title at the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals and to some extent follows in the footsteps of Chuang Chih-Yuan.
Now 36 years old, Chuang Chih-Yuan won the Men’s Singles title at the 2002 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Stockholm, before he ever won on the Tour; the following year in 2003 he emerged victorious in Rio de Janeiro. Now on ITTF World Junior Circuit can Li Hsin-Yang, emulate Chuang Chih-Yuan and on what is in reality the following year, win in Thailand to capture his first such Junior Boys’ Singles title?
Li Hsin-Yang is the no.2 seed in Bangkok with colleague Tai Ming-Wei, the no.4 seed. Similarly no ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles title has ever come his way; his best was runners up spot last year in India when beaten the final by the host nation’s Manav Vikash Thakkar.
Notably Manav Vikash Thakkar is the no.3 seed in Bangkok and one of three players who have secured ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles titles; the other two names are the host nation’s Pattaratorn Passara and Qatar’s Mohammad Abdulwahhab. Last year Pattaratorn Passara won in Jordan and succeeded Mohammad Abdulwahhab who prevailed in the Middle East country the previous year, before in 2016 succeeding in Morocco.
In Bangkok, Pattaratorn Passara and Mohammad Abdulwahhab complete the top eight names.
Undoubtedly, Pattaratorn Passara is a major contender for honours as is his colleague, Yanapong Panagitgun, the runner up last year in Jordan; he is the no.5 seed, with Japan’s Fumiya Igarashi being the next in line.
Play commences with the team events; the individual events commence on Friday 12th May.