by Ian Marshall, Editor
There are few other youth tournaments on the world stage, when taking into account the number of participating nations, that can compare with the Safir International.
On the first two days of action the Swedish Junior Open takes centre stage; on Friday 22nd February, the Elite Class is the event on the menu, renowned senior players enter the arena.
Notably the overall entry stands at over 465 players of whom 124 will compete in the junior boys’ singles event, 89 in the counterpart junior girls’ singles competition. Similarly the cadet boys’ singles boasts 91 in number, the total being 79 for the cadet girls’ singles; meanwhile, looking to the future there are 42 entries for the mini-cadet boys’ singles and 35 for the mini-cadet girls’ singles competition.
An impressive entry, overall 32 national associations have entered players, the striking fact being that every continent affiliated to the International Table Tennis Federation is represented.
Local eyes very much focus on Truls Moregard, he defends his junior boys’ singles title; for the visitors Japan’s Miwa Harimoto is a name to catch the eye, only 10 years old, the question is as to whether she can follow in the footsteps of elder brother Tomokazu. In 2015 when only 11 years of age, he reached the final of the men’s singles elite class.
There is no Tomokazu Harimoto this year but in men’s singles elite class, the names of the host nation’s Mattias Falck Jon Persson, Pär Gerell, Elias Ranefur, Jens Lundquist and Viktor Brodd appear as does that of Hampus Nordberg, the defending champion. Likewise, Truls Moregard will be in action, whilst from foreign shores, England’s Liam Pitchford is the prominent name.
Five days of intense action, more than 2,300 matches, some 100 umpires and 200 volunteers; Orebro is the destination, the Safir International is the tournament.
Local Website: The Safir International