by Simon Daish
France provided the opposition in both finals, but the title challengers struggled to trouble Russia in either match.
Vladimir Sidorenko gave Russia the perfect start to the Junior Boys’ Team final, claiming victory in the opening fixture of the match against Bilal Hamache (11-4, 11-3, 11-13, 12-10).
Then came arguably the best chance of a French win as Dorian Zheng took an early lead in his duel with Maksim Grebnev.
However, the Russian competitor began to grow into the match and after picking up a marginal win in the second game Maksim Grebnev went on to see off Dorian Zheng (8-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-7) to give Russia a two nil advantage.
The title win was then secured following a positive showing from Vladimir Sidorenko and Maksim Grebnev, who partnered up to beat Jules Cavaille and Myshaal Sabhi without dropping a game (11-7, 11-9, 11-5).
“In the third game against Bilal Hamache I was nervous, because I held a 6-2 advantage and he recovered. Hamache had a good service and I had a hard time putting it short and attacking it. However, I never lost focus. I felt well from the beginning. I am very proud now and I am proud that I had a chance to win gold for Russia!”, Vladimir Sidorenko.
Russian success was also celebrated in the Junior Girls’ Team competition as Elizabet Abraamian and Ekaterina Zironova lifted the trophy.
Elizabet Abraamian put Russia ahead in the early stages of the final, defeating French rival Prithika Pavade in the opener (4-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8), but Camille Lutz then managed to draw the tie level at one win apiece after registering a five games triumph over Ekaterina Zironova (6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13).
The momentum then returned in Russia’s favour as Elizabet Abraamian and Ekaterina Zironova overcame the challenge of facing Prithika Pavade and Camille Lutz in the doubles encounter (14-12, 11-4, 7-11, 18-16), before Zironova powered past Pavade with a straight games win (12-10, 11-4, 11-4) to put the result beyond any doubt.
“… I was under pressure. I lost my first singles match, but after the doubles the team spirit brought me back into the game. We are united and we support each other, it helped me recover”, Ekaterina Zironova.
Hungary and Belgium secured bronze medal finishes in the Cadet Boys’ Team event, while the Cadet Girls’ Team tournament bronze medals went to Turkey and Belarus.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Tuesday 18th July