by Ian Marshall, Editor
The success capped a series of consistent performances on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit, the only occasion he has not reached the later rounds was in Italy when he departed in round three and that was against no mean performer. He was beaten by China’s Zeng Beixun, the eventual runner up.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic he was a quarter-finalist, in Bahrain and on home soil in France, a semi-finalist.
In Wladyslawowo, the no.4 seed, after recording a quarter-final win against Italy’s Carlo Rossi, the no.8 seed (7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5), he beat surprise semi-finalist, John Oyebode, also from Italy (11-9, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8) and Hungary’s Csaba Andras, the no.6 seed (11-7, 12-10, 3-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6) to seal the title.
Both John Oyebode and Csaba Andras were very much players in form; required to qualify, John Oyebode had overcome the Czech Republic’s Michal Blinka in the quarter-finals (11-9, 12-14, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7), the player who the previous day had ousted Germany’s Kay Stumper, the no.2 seed (11-5, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6). Similarly, in the opposite half of the draw, after beating Lilian Bardet, the no.3 seed (11-9, 2-11, 11-5, 3-11, 11-6, 11-6), Csaba Andras broke Polish hearts. He accounted for Samuel Kulczycki, the top seed (11-8, 5-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 3-11, 11-6).
Success for Vincent Picard without being extended the full distance; partnering Lilian Bardet in the junior boys’ doubles event it was somewhat different. At the final hurdle they beat Samuel Kulczycki and compatriot Maciej Kubik by the very narrowest of margins (5-11, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11) to secure the title. Earlier, at the semi-final stage Lilian Bardet and Vincent Picard had overcame Italy’s Marco Cappuccio and Andrea Puppo (11-4, 11-4, 11-7); Maciej Kubik and Samuel Kulczycki had ousted Csaba Andras and Hungarian colleague Oliver Both (11-3, 11-5, 11-8).
“In the final we had one match point. We are generally happy, because we have confirmed the good form; soon it will be the European Youth Championships in Ostrava.” Samuel Kulczycki
The junior boys’ singles event concluded, attention now turns to the junior boys’ team and cadet girls’ team competitions.