by Ian Marshall, Editor
In Bendigo it was a case of just needing to climb that one step higher; in Hodonin that is very much his challenge. Notably in 2016 he was the cadet boys’ singles runner up in France, in 2017 it was the same in Sweden and Spain; now can he assert himself in the next higher age group?
Significantly, for the names above on the Hodonin list, both Pang Yew En Koen and Samuel Kulczycki have made that step; last year Pang Yew En Koen won in the Cook Islands, whilst also being the runner up in Chinese Taipei, Samuel Kulczycki succeeded in Slovakia. Similarly, Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczyk, the no.4 seed, won in 2017 in Italy and like Pang Yew En Koen was present at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, for the players who complete the top eight names, they are very much in the same situation as Maksim Grebnev; they have yet to assert their presence in junior boys’ singles events on the ITTF World Junior Circuit. Singapore’s Josh Shao Han Chua, a semi-finalist last year in Canada and Serbia, is the no.5 seed followed by Serbia’s Dimitrije Levajac, Poland’s Jan Zandecki and Moldova’s Vladislav Ursu.
Players seeking to make their mark; in the cadet boys’ singles event one player has already very much made his mark. Japan’s 11 year old Sora Matsushima is the top seed, the runner up last year in Chinese Taipei, prior to securing fourth place in the ITTF Cadet Challenge.
Next on the list is Romania’s Iulian Chirita, who in 2017 excelled all expectations to reach the junior boys’ singles semi-final round in Portugal; he is followed by the host nation’s Simon Belik, the runner up at the recent Bahrain Junior and Cadet Open. Like Iulian Chirita from Romania, Andrei Tomica completes the top four names.
A total of 121 players have entered the junior boys’ singles event, the top 16 names receive a direct entry to the main draw.