08 Jan 2019

Four titles, she won on home soil, as well as in the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Poland; China’s Shi Xinyao emerged the most successful player on the 2018 ITTF World Junior Circuit, it was a feat no male counterpart could match.

The best was that achieved by her colleagues, Yu Heyi and Xu Haidong. Each won twice, the former in the Czech Republic and France, the latter in Hong Kong and Italy. However, were those figures the most important statistics of the year?

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Overall 25 national associations staged ITTF World Junior Circuit tournaments; no less than 2,385 players representing 99 national associations participated; over 20,000 matches were played. It was an increase on the previous year when 24 hosts had witnessed some 2,197 players from 97 national associations competing.

Impressive numbers and in 2019 we are set to climb event higher.

A total of 26 ITTF World Junior Circuit tournaments appear on the 2019 calendar; four Golden Series, nine Premium events and 13 Regular tournaments.

Notably China, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong retain their Golden Series status; the newcomer is Croatia, last year a Premium tournament. Meanwhile, on the Premium list Belgium appears, having previously being the host for Regular Series events.

Furthermore, Bahrain returns to the calendar, a Premium tournament; also not present last year, the Regular Series witnesses the return of Australia, Chile and Slovenia in addition to newcomers Ghana, Macedonia and Morocco.

The calendar starts in Manama, the Bahrain Junior and Cadet Open will be staged from Thursday 7th to Monday 11th February; organized from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd November in Guimarães, the Portugal Junior and Cadet Open will bring the itinerary to a conclusion. In between players will journey from north to south, east to west and various other directions of the compass.

An impressive itinerary; I wonder, will a figure of 2,500 competitors representing 100 national associations be achieved? Surely it is within reach, more than possible.

World Junior Circuit Shi Xunyao Xu Haidong Yu Heyi