by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Following the most recent publication of the ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Standings, Artur Abusev, who won in Spain and Portugal, is listed at no.6 (2,560 points), to date he has only played in Europe, his one other appearance being in Sweden; by competing in Egypt he will meet the minimum two continent criteria required for the Finals.
It is a similar situation for Bastien Rembert and for Maciej Kolodziejczyk, likewise to date both have only played in Europe; the journey to Sharm El-Shiekh means they will also meet the basic criteria.
Bastien Rembert won on home soil in France before journeying to Sweden, Belgium and Poland; presently he is listed at no.3 on the Standings (2,880 points); likewise Maciej Kolodziejczyk has made four appearances and has one success to his name. He emerged successful in Italy, whilst also competing in the Czech Republic, Sweden and Poland. Presently on the Standings, he is named at no.8 (1,648 points).
Now, for Youssef Abdel-Aziz, the situation is somewhat different; already he has competed in two continents. He played in Jordan and more recently in Slovenia where he reached the semi-final round. Presently on the Standings, he is named at no.56 (750 points). He is Africa’s leading player.
Each continent is eligible for at least one representative at the Finals, progress to the latter stages in Sharm El-Sheikh and he is home and dry.
Meanwhile, for the remaining leading names on duty, to be amongst the 16 names who will be invited to compete in Luxembourg, a good performance is mandatory in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Frenchman, Remi Menand has a more than realistic chance; currently on the Standings, he is listed at no.14 (1,452 points); he is the fifth highest rated on Sharm El-Sheikh duty.
However, for Russia’s Denis Ivonin and Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco, qualification for Luxembourg is not out of the question, just with the strength of the field assembled in Egypt, it makes life mightily difficult. Denis Ivonin, the fourth in the order of merit in Sharm El-Sheikh, is at no.45 (880 points), José Pedro Francisco, who completes the top eight names, is at no.51 (822 points).
José Pedro Francisco, making no less than his tenth appearance of the year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, has already played in two continents, by competing in Egypt, both Denis Ivonin and Remi Menand will achieve that goal.
Perhaps, a journey to the Grand Duchy it is distant hope for Denis Ivonin, Remi Menand and José Pedro Francisco; it is even more distant for Romania’s Rares Sipos, third in the Sharm El-Sheikh ranked order. He has under-performed this year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, suffering earlier than expected exits in Tunisia and Poland.
The two continent criteria has been met but he is listed at a lowly no.143 (256 points) on the Standings. However, in Sharm El-Sheikh, whatever the outcome, he will have cause to celebrate; the day the tournament starts, Wednesday 11th October, is his 17th birthday.