by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Tense time for the players, no doubt it was even more tense for the respective coaches.
Directed by Daniela Gomes, the ITTF Development and Education and Training Projects Officer, play in the Challenge tournament commenced with four groups in each of the Boys’ Singles and Girls’ Singles events. Players finishing in first and second places in each group progressed to compete for the top eight places.
In the Girls’ Singles event, Singapore’s Zhou Jingyi and Swathi Giri of the United States, alongside the Czech Republic’s Helena Sommerova and Anna Hursey of Wales duly topped their respective groups. Respective second places were secured by Brazil’s Giulia Takahashi, Ireland’s Sophie Early, Thailand’s Wirakarn Tayapitak and Kazakhstan’s Sarvinoz Mirkadirova.
Meanwhile, in the counterpart Boys’ Singles events, Singapore was also very much to the fore.
Izaac Quek Yong, like Zhiu Jingyi coached by former international Tan Paey Fern, finished in first place in his group ahead of Mexico’s Regelio Castro.
“Jingyi and Izaac have worked so hard and I am so happy that their sacrifices have paid off for them. It is not easy for the duo to juggle the demands of both sports and studies, especially for Jingyi when her public exams approaching. I am so proud of their achievements and efforts at the ITTF World Hopes Challenge.” Tan Paey Fern
Likewise, in the Boys’ Singles event Iran’s David Shams secured first place ahead of Germany’s Tayler Fox, as did Australia’s Nicholas Lum. He concluded his initial phase group one place ahead of Portugal’s Luis Maciel. Notable performances, in the one remaining group the player to shine was Jayden Zhou of the United States, he ended matters in first place in his group with Romania’s Dragos Bujor in runners up spot.
The players for the second stage of proceedings determined. Zhou Jingyi secured the Girls’ Singles title beating Sarvinoz Mirkadirova (11-3, 11-9, 11-7), before overcoming Sophie Earley (11-3, 11-2, 11-6) and Anna Hursey (11-4, 11-4, 11-6).
“I am very happy to be able to do well in this competition and I am thankful to all my coaches that have taught and helped me.” Zhiu Jingyi
Swathi Giri, who experienced a semi-final defeat at the hands of Anna Hursey (11-8, 11-3, 11-5), reserved third place; she accounted for Sophie Earley in the third place contest (9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-3).
Gold for Zhou Jingyi, in the counterpart Boys’ Singles event, it was the top prize for Navid Shams. He beat Dragos Bujur (11-13, 11-7, 10-12, 15-13, 11-5), Nicholas Lum (11-6, 11-1, 11-1) and Taylor Fox to claim the title (11-4, 11-5, 11-8).
Third place was clinched by Nicholas Lum; he overcame Luis Maciel in four games (11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4); earlier at the semi-final stage, Luis Maciel had experienced defeat at the hands of Taylor Fox (10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8).
Play concluded; the selection for the Hopes Team will be announced in due course.
The trophies and medals awarded at the Challenge tournament (Photo: Claude Sibenaler)
2017 World Hopes Challenge: Participants: Boys and Girls
2017 World Hopes Challenge: Boys’ Singles: First Stage Results
2017 World Hopes Challenge: Boys’ Singles: Second Stage Results
2017 World Hopes Challenge: Girls’ Singles: First Stage Results
2017 World Hopes Challenge: Girls’ Singles: Second Stage Results
2017 World Hopes Challenge: Boys’ Singles: Final Ranking
2017 World Hopes Challenge: Girls’ Singles: Final Ranking