15 Jul 2018

The opening day of the STAG 2018 European Youth Championships in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca hosted a number of talking points, especially in the evening session of the Junior Girls' Team competition on Sunday 15th July.

by Simon Daish

Silver medallists last year, but for the host nation Romania day one of the Junior Girls’ Team category was a day of disappointment: opening to a narrow 3-2 defeat against Germany, the Romanian team would end the day with a 3-1 loss to its name.

Lucie Gauthier led opponents France to success, emerging from the evening’s play with victories over Tania Plaian (8-11, 18-16, 12-10, 11-5) and Andreea Dragoman (11-9, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7) adding to Romania’s Group D woes in the process.

Another team to experience defeat at the hands of the French squad was Spain, but later in the day there were scenes of celebration for the Spanish outfit. Producing an excellent display, Ana Garcia contributed wins against Laura Tiefenbrunner (11-9, 11-4, 11-8) and Franziska Schreiner (11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-9) as Spain prevailed over Germany 3-1.

Defending Champions Russia endured a mixed day at the office, making up for an opening round defeat to Azerbaijan with a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic while Turkey won both of its opening Group B encounters by 3-2 score-lines. Poland and Slovenia share the lead in Group C with two wins apiece.

Over in the Junior Boys’ Team event the home fans had plenty to cheer about as Romania picked up maximum points on day one. Cristian Pletea was the hero of the day for the hosts with a brace of wins against Poland’s Artur Grela (10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5) and Samuel Kulczycki (11-4, 11-8, 11-4) guiding Romania to its second consecutive Group A victory having seen of the Slovak Republic in the morning session.

Sweden impressed over in Group D with back-to-back successes: cruising to a commanding 3-0 outcome against Slovenia, the Swedish line-up of Jonatan McDonald, Truls Moregard and Martin Fries then went on to pull off a 3-1 victory over Italy to move clear at the summit of the group.

2017 runners up Russia has made a strong start to the 2018 European Youth Championships with two wins on day one of the tournament, including a positive result against reigning Champions Germany. France leads Group B following a perfect day at the office.

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2018 STAG European Youth Championships Lucie Gauthier Ana Garcia

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