by Ian Marshall, Editor
Three ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles titles to his credit, having won in both 2016 and 2017 on home soil in India, whilst also in 2017 being successful in Slovenia; earlier this year in February Manav Vikash Thakkar reached the title deciding contest at the World Junior Circuit Finals in Luxembourg.
However, since that date, other than in Bangkok when gaining qualification for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, he has not been able to achieve similar success.
Likewise, Snehit Surravajjula won in Jordan in 2017 beating Jeet Chandra in the final; for both similar to Manav Vikash Thakkar, this year such heights have not been achieved.
Unquestionably, all have proved most worthy competitors on the international scene and underline the current healthy state of the sport in India. It is very much the same for Raegan Albuquerque; impressively this year in Canada, he was a Junior Boys’ Singles quarter-finalist.
The top five positions for India, next on the list is the host nation’s Tiago Li, like Raegan Albuquerque a quarter-finalist in Canada but most creditably at the Opatija Milenij tournament in Croatia, he was the runner up.
Arguably, alongside the Spanish duo of Alberto Lillo and Marc Gutierrez, the players who complete the top eight names, he presents the strongest challenge to India. Notably, on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit, Alberto Lillo was a semi-finalist in Belgium; Marc Gutierrez has yet to make himself known on the international stage.
Play commences with the Junior Boys’ Singles event; the top 16 seeds are exempt from the group phase of proceedings.