by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
However, if the team title is to be secured, both may have to improve on the form displayed at the recent 2018 Belgosstrakh European Under 21 Championship in Minsk; there was no great disaster but perhaps they had hoped for better.
In the initial stage group Sabina Surjan finished in second place behind Estonia’s Airi Avameri; runners up spot meant progress to stage two. In that phase of the tournament she finished in third place behind Romania’s Adina Diaconu and Italy’s Jamila Laurenti; first and second progressed to stage three, the knock-out rounds, thus for the Serbian it was the end of the road.
Disappointment for Sabina Surjan; it was even greater for Tijana Jokic. She finished in third place in her initial phase group and thus experienced a rather early exit.
Also at the Czech Junior and Cadet Open Sabina Surjan experienced problems, she was beaten in round four by Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus; the one crumb of comfort being that last year she gained sufficient points to qualify for the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals but was not eligible as she had only played on Europe. Now in 2018 by playing in Tunisia, she has already met the two continent appearance criteria
Perhaps not the best of form but none of the chasing group can boast better in recent months.
India’s Selena Selvakumar and Swastika Ghosh occupy the second seeded position in the Junior Girls’ Team event; each has made one appearance to date in this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit. Selena Selvakumar, finished in third place in her initial stage group at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals and thus did not progress to the main draw. Later, she reached the third round of the Junior Girls’ Singles event in the Czech Republic, losing to Poland’s Julia Szymczak.
Somewhat similarly, it was a second round exit for Swastika Ghosh in Oman; she lost to China’s Zang Xiaotong but she gave a most creditable performance, it was defeat in seven games.
Next in the order of merit in the Junior Girls’ Team event is the partnership formed by Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva and Singapore’s Zhang Wanling; the host nation’s Fadwa Garci and Abir Haj Salan complete the top four pairs.
Zhang Wanling competed in the recent 2018 ITTF Team World Cup but lost her one and only match when facing England’s Tin-Tin Ho. Meanwhile, Zauresh Akasheva did not avance beyond the group stage in the Junior Girls’ Singles event in the Czech Republic.
Similarly, Fadwa Garci was beaten in the opening round of the Junior Girls’ Singles event on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in Sweden; whilst at the 2016 ITTF-Africa Cup, held earlier this month in Nairobi, it was 11th place for Abir Haj Salah.
Maybe this year Sabina Surjan and Tijana Jokic have not hit the headlines but in Rades they are the favourites for gold; furthermore in the Cadet Girls’ Team event Serbia has also medal intentions.
Radmila Tominjak joins forced with Egypt’s 12 year old Jana Wagih, they are the top seeds; the latter’s colleagues Roa Amro and Farida Badawy are next on the list,