by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
First place, arguably it appears more difficult for the girls than for the boys.
Represented by Jamila Laurenti, Valentina Roncallo, Marcella Delasa and Martina Nino, the Italian girls are the second rated outfit in their group. Top of the list is the Czech Republic team comprising Zdena Blaskova, Katerina Cechova, Anna Matejovska and Stanislava Slezakova.
Very much the member of the Italian team to attract the attention this year has been Jamila Laurenti, she has impressed in Cadet Girls’ Singles events on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit notably being the runner up on home soil in Lignano, Tunisia and Poland. Good results in Riva del Garda would certainly be a welcome belated present. She celebrated her 15th birthday on Friday 24th November.
“It’s not an easy group, at the European Youth Championships the Czech Republic finished in fifth place, they have a good team. We have a very young team. Certainly Jamila has been playing very well. It’s not impossible; we have to approach every match in a professional manner.” Guiseppe Delrosso
Home soil and team spirit might just turn the tables in their favour; many of the players are based at the National Training Centre in Formia, a drive of just under two hours south of Rome. All meet at least once a month.
Meanwhile, for the Italian boys, they are the highest rated outfit in their group; however for Antonio Amato, Matteo Mutti, Daniele Pinto and Carlo Rossi there can be no complacency.
“Three of players are with me in Formia, Matteo is at a professional club in Milan but he comes to the training camps. We have a good group of players, we have a good chance to finish in first place in our group but you never know. The team is improving step by step; I feel they can compete with anyone.” Lorenzo Nannoni.
Italy is drawn in the same group as Brazil and Algeria. Brazil selects from Siddharta Almeida, Sergio Bignardi, Carlos Ishida and Eduardo Tomoike; Algeria is represented by Mohamed Aoues, Sbdelbasst Chaicho and Islam Tifoura.