by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Qualification was a reward for the efforts made on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit, impressively Yanapong Panagitgun competed in nine tournaments, Jinnipa Sawettabut just one less.
A good start in Muscat is their immediate goal; it could well relieve the pressure they experienced in their quest for a place in Luxembourg.
Prior to the start of the Portugal Junior and Cadet Open, the concluding tournament on the 2017 calendar, neither player owned a qualification position. In Lisbon, both responded. Yanapong Panagitgun won the Junior Boys’ Singles event and moved from no.14 to no.6 on the Standings; Jinnipa Sawettabut reached the semi-final round of the Junior Girls’ Singles competition and advanced from no.22 to no.13.
Addition to the Junior Boys’ Singles and Junior Girls’ Singles events, both compete in the preceding team competitions. Yanapong Panagitgun partners Egypt’s Marwan Abdelwahhab, Jinnipa Sawettabut joins forces with the Czech Republic’s Yana Novakova.
Marwan Abdelwahhab and Yana Novakova have yet to make an impact on the ITTF World Junior Circuit but have international experience. Last year Yana Novakova competed in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia and Thailand, whilst in 2016, Marwan Abdelwahhab won the Cadet Boys’ Singles title at the African Junior and Cadet Championships in Algiers.
In the Junior Boys’ Team event Yanapong Panagitgun and Marwan Abdelwahhab occupy the second seeded position behind Iran’s Amid Ahmadian and Amirreza Abbasi; China’s Yuan Licen, Quan Kaiguan and Xu Haidong reserve the third seeded spot.
Similarly, in Junior Girls’ Team competition Jinnipa Sawettabut and Yana Novakova are the second seeds. The top seeded spot is owned by China’s Qian Tianyi, Guo Yuhan and Zhang Binyue; India’s Swastika Ghosh and Varumi Jaiswal are the third seeds.