by Ian Marshall, Editor
Impressively, last year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Anna Wegrzyn won in Canada, Ekaterina Zironova succeeded in Egypt. Meanwhile, Zdena Blaskova emerged a bronze medallist in the Czech Republic, as did Jamila Laurenti in Paraguay; one step lower, Katarzyna Wegrzyn was a quarter-finalist in Hungary.
All strong challengers for honours but the greatest challenge comes from China; Wu Yangchen, the winner last year in Hungary, is the no.8 seed but the names to note are those of Kuai Man and Chen Yi, both born in 2004.
In the junior girls’ singles event Chen Yi is the no.7 seed, Kuai Man the no.23 seed and thus required to compete in the qualification group stage. In the cadet girls’ singles event it is the opposite order, the two players occupying the top two places on the under 15 girls’ world rankings.
Now what are the chances in Lignano of the Kuai Man and Chen Yi contesting both the junior girls’ and cadet girls’ singles finals? It is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Each has yet to win an ITTF World Junior Circuit girls’ singles title but note last year’s record in the cadet age group. Kuai Man appeared in four cadet girls’ singles events, she won them all! She won in China and Croatia, whilst also emerging successful in Myanmar at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships, as well as at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Tottori.
Similarly, it was success upon success for Chen Yi; on the ITTF World Junior Circuit she prevailed in Italy, Thailand, Hong Kong and Hungary. In China and at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships she was beaten in the final by Kuai Man; the only slight hiccup being in Poland when suffering a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Japan’s Yukari Sugasawa. Furthermore, that nearly didn’t happen; she was beaten by the minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (9-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9, 13-11).
Notably Chen Yi and Kuai Man form the top seeded cadet girls’ doubles pair; alongside Zhang Xiangyu, they head the cadet girls’ team order of merit.
The junior girls’ singles event commences play in Lignano.