by Simon Daish
Runners up in 2017 but one year on France would not be denied the top step of the Cadet Boys’ Team podium, showing its dominance with a 3-0 victory over Belgium at the final hurdle.
France established an early lead through Myshaal Sabhi, who needed just four games to see off Nicolas Degros (11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7) before Fabio Rakotoarimanana added a second win to the list much to the disappointment of Adrien Rassenfosse (11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9).
Sabhi and Rakotoarimanana then partnered in the doubles, beating Belgium’s Degros and Rassenfosse (10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7) to seal the title.
“I stayed focused. I did not want to change my tactics. We didn’t play good all the time but we won the important points and we were focused during the important moments, especially for the final. It’s a title that makes us really happy!” Myshaal Sabhi
In the Cadet Girls’ Team final there were scenes of sheer joy from local spectators as Romania delivered a gold medal winning performance against Russia.
The early momentum was clearly in Russia’s favour with victories for Arina Slautina and Elizabet Abraamian over Elena Zaharia (11-4, 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10) and Luciana Mitrofan (6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8) putting last year’s Champions 2-0 in front.
However, a doubles win for Elena Zaharia and Luciana Mitrofan against Elizabet Abraamian and Liubov Tentser (11-5, 12-10, 11-4) kick-started the Romanian response. Zaharia then stepped up to defeat Abraamian in a five games spectacle (9-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5) with Mitrofan prevailing against Slautina (11-7, 14-12, 10-12, 11-5) to bring the final to a conclusion.
“I don’t have words, I am so happy that I cannot explain it. We are very happy for having won this final. Our adversaries were very strong, they were the top favorites and we had to mobilize ourselves. We controlled our emotions and we hoped, we fought and we won!” Elena Zaharia