by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
He started his quest with victory over Switzerland’s Pedro Osiro (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 14-12), before accounting for Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco (11-7, 11-0, 11-5, 11-6) and Belgium’s in-form Laurens Devos (7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8) to reserve his place in the final. Notably, one round earlier Laurens Devos had ousted India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the top seed (11-7, 3-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8, 11-3, 4-11, 11-7).
A place in the final booked, Amin Ahmadian accounted for Singapore’s Pan Yen En Koen (4-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12), a young man for whom the heart bleeds; the previous day in the first knock-out event he had also reached the final, losing to Azerbaijan’s Yu Khinhang (12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-6).
“I am so happy that I achieved my goal in Tunisia; this was my main goal. I feel very happy that I have become the first Iranian to feature in the table tennis event at a Youth Olympic Games. It was indeed a hard road to earn the ticket. In the first day of the qualifiers, I lost in the quarter-final; I was tired after the Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open. On the second day, I was focused and determined to achieve my goal. All the matches were hard but I remained focused and I was determined to make it. I am so happy with my performance overall and I look forward to representing my country well in Argentina later in the year. Amin Ahmadian.
In the opposite half of the draw, Pang Yew En Koen beat Slovakia’s Jakub Zelinka (11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 9-11, 11-3) before recording two most notable wins. He accounted for Austria’s Maciek Kololdziejczyk, the no.2 seed (11-7, 10-12, 16-14, 11-8, 11-8) followed by Canada’s Jeremy Hazin,the no.4 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2) to reserve his place in the final.
Alas for Pang Yew En Koen it was not to be but there more opportunities; four Road to Buenos Aires tournaments await.
Continental Tournaments – Qualifiers (as on Sunday 17th December)
Africa: Youssef Abdel Aziz (Egypt), Nathael Hamdoun (Tunisia)
Asia: Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan), Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Wang Chuqin (China), Cho Daeseong (Korea)
Europe: Ioannis Sgouropoulos (Greece), Vladimir Sidorenko (Russia), Medardas Stankievicius (Lithuania), Vladislav Urdu (Moldova)
Latin America: Nicolas Burgos (Chile), Guillerme Teodoro (Brazil)
North America: Kanak Jha (United States)
Oceania: Nathan Xu (New Zealand)
Africa: Esther Oribamise (Nigeria), Marwa Alhodaby (Egypt)
Asia: Miu Hirano (Japan), Sun Yingsha (China), Jinnipa Sawettabut (Thailand), Su Pei-Ling (Chinese Taipei)
Europe: Lucie Gauthier (France), Mariia Tailakova (Russia), Ning Jing (Azerbaijan), Nadezhda Bogdanova (Belarus)
Latin America: Adriana Diaz (Puerto Rico), Bruna Takahashi (Brazil)
North America: Amy Wang (United States)
Oceania: Vong Hui Ling (New Zealand)
Road to Buenos Series (as on Sunday 25th March)
Europe: Bastian Rembert (France), Cristian Pletea (Romania)
Europe: Yu Khinhang (Azerbaijan), Amin Ahmadian (Iran)
Europe: Andreea Dragoman (Romania), Lee Ka Yee (Hong Kong)
Africa: Tatiana Kukulkova (Slovakia), Sabina Surjan (Serbia)