by Ian Marshall, ITT Publications Editor
The performance in Luxembourg underlined the fact that Youssef Abdel-Aziz, presently listed at no.8 on the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Omar Assar; a young man who has set new standards for Egypt.
Notably in Luxembourg, in his opening match of the tournament, Youssef Abdel-Aziz beat the player who was eventually to seal the title; he accounted for Kanak Jha of the United States (5-11, 13-11, 11-3, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7).
Eventually, after losing to Frenchman, Bastien Rembert (11-4, 11-1, 12-10, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7), he was to finish in second place in his initial phase group; the result meant a quarter-final place was reserved. It was at that stage, Youssef Abdel-Aziz once again shone. He beat Romania’s Cristian Pletea (11-9, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-6), prior to experiencing defeat at the hands of India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar (11-8, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8).
The semi-final finish in Luxembourg capped off a most satisfactory year for the now 18 year old; in Tunis in April he had enjoyed notable success. He won the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the ITTF World Junior Circuit event. whilst also emerging in first place in the African qualification tournament for the Buenos Aires 21018 Youth Olympic Games.
Additionally, later in the year, Youssef Abdel-Aziz was to win the Under 21 Men’s Singles title at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigerian Open in Lagos. Now in Abidjan a chance arises to add to his title collection; he is the clear favourite.
Somewhat differently for his colleagues, just as Youssef Abdel-Aziz seeks to following the footsteps of Omar Assar; so it is in his footsteps Ahmed Elborhamy and Ziad Elshawa seek to tread, it is a chance for both to move a step higher.
On the ITTF World Junior Circuit in 2016, Ahmed Elborhamy won the Cadet Boys’ Singles title in Bahrain, whilst later in the year being the runner up in Tunisia; meanwhile earlier this year in Oman, Ziad Elshawa reached the quarter-final round of both the Junior Boys’ Singles and Cadet Boys’ Singles events.
Play commences with the Junior Boys’ Singles event.