by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The second of two tournaments in Bangkok to reserve a place in the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Manav Vikash Thakkar gave one of the most impressive performances to date in the series of qualification tournaments. He emerged successful without surrendering a single game.
He beat Panama’s Jacobo Vahnish, the no.6 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8), before overcoming Jordan’s Khaled Khader, the no.4 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6) and Singapore’s Chua Josh Shao Han, the no.8 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-2, 11-9) to reserve the top step of the podium.
“I’m feeling very good because the previous two Youth Olympic Qualifiers, I lost and yesterday as well. So today I was well prepared and so focused because if I lost today, I would have to go to Canada for the qualifier there. Since it’s so far from India, it was very important for me to qualify for the Youth Olympics here, today.” Manav Vikash Thakkar
Notably, Chua Josh Shao Han was a player in form, in the second round, he accounted for Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, the no.2 seed, in what was to prove the closest match of the day; he prevailed by the minimal margin in the seventh game (4-11, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10). Dramatic success, one round later life was less fraught; he overcame Hong Kong’s Cheng Pak Hei, the no.3 seed (11-3, 11-9, 10-12, 15-13, 11-4) to reserve his place in the final.
Straight games wins for Manav Vikash Thakkar; for Andrea Pavlovich it was success without requiring a deciding game. She reserved her Buenos Aires place by beating Canada’s Ivy Liao, the no.5 seed (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4), Finland’s Annika Lundström, the no.3 seed (5-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6) and Hungary’s Fanni Harasztovich, the no.6 seed (11-6, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8).
An imposing final performance from Andrea Pavlovich against a player who had caused upsets en route to the final: at the quarter-final stage she had overcome Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-5), followed by success in opposition to India’s Archana Girish Kamath, the top seed (13-11, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-5).
“I can’t explain the feeling of qualifying. It’s really unbelievable! I just concentrated on my tactics like my coach told me; I kept my focus all match. I’ll be playing more in the future so we’ll see what happens!” Andrea Pavlovich
Manav Vikash Thakkar and Andrea Pavlovich follow in the footsteps of Malaysia’s Javen Choong and Choi Haeeun who had reserved their places in the Buenos Aires, the previous day.
The qualification tournament for the Youth Olympic Games concluded, attention now turns to the SET Junior and Cadet Open, play commences in the five day tournament on Wednesday 9th May.
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 15th April)
Europe: Bastian Rembert (France), Cristian Pletea (Romania)
Africa: Yu Khinhang (Azerbaijan), Amin Ahmadian (Iran)
Latin America: Matteo Mutti (Italy), Yanapong Panagitgun (Thailand)
Asia: Javen Choong (Malaysia), Manav Vikash Thakkar (India)
Europe: Andreea Dragoman (Romania), Lee Ka Yee (Hong Kong)
Africa: Tatiana Kukulkova (Slovakia), Sabina Surjan (Serbia)
Latin America: Jamila Laurenti (Italy), Goi Rui Xuan (Singapore)
Asia: Choi Haeeun (Korea Republic), Andrea Pavlovich (Croatia)