by Ian Marshall, Editor
Bahrain is one of nine premium tournaments on the schedule, the second tier. Meanwhile, in the highest tier, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Croatia host Gold Series events; commencing with Sweden, later in February, there are no less than 13 regular tournaments; a grand total of 26 events.
It is a far cry from the first year, China and Spain appeared on the schedule; in 2002 the event in China was staged in Taiyuan as opposed to the current home in Taicang, for Spain it was as today, the destination was Platja D’Aro. Always China and Spain have hosted ITTF World Junior Circuit tournaments.
Overall a total of four tournaments graced the 2002 calendar as the initiative trod its first gentle steps. Lima in Peru alongside Fort Lauderdale in the United States were the two further destinations.
Most significantly, Gustavo Tsuboi won the junior boys’ singles event in Lima. Moreover, of the players who competed at the recent CCB Europe Top 18 Cup and at the Universal 2019 Pan America Cup, he was not alone.
Also, in Lima, Hungary’s Georgina Pota won the junior girls’ singles event, her semi-final victim being Chile’s Paulina Vega; additionally Georgina Pota reached the final in Spain where Japan’s Sayaka Hirano ended adventures. Meanwhile, Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia progressed to the junior boys’ singles quarter-final round in Spain.
Furthermore and most pertinently, there was a 14 year old who attracted the attention in Spain. A certain Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat Ruwen Filus in an all-German cadet boys’ singles final.
Now as we start the 2019 ITTF World Junior Circuit schedule, are there players who can progress to compete in years to come in the major events on the calendar and even advance to stand on the top step of the podium? Are there successors to Gustavo Tsuboi and Dimitrij Ovtcharov?
Gustavo Tsuboi won the Pan America Cup in 2017 in San José, Costa Rica; Dimitrij Ovtcharov has now won the European equivalent five times! Moreover, always they have conducted themselves in the most correct manner; role models for the present generation, a credit to the sport, examples to follow.