by Ian Marshall, Editor
In Zrenjanin, 14 year old Napat Thanmathikom was the player in form as proceedings came to a conclusion, he won the cadet boys’ singles title, having earlier in the week secured silver in the cadet boys’ team event alongside twin brother Tanapat.
A most creditable effort from the impressive young men from Thailand, it was the same from the inspiring young ladies from Brazil; 14 year old Giulia Takahashi and one year older, Laura Watanabe, combined to secure the cadet girls’ team title, before on the concluding day of action in the cadet girls’ singles event, each losing in turn to the eventual champion, Kazakhstan’s Sarvinoz Mirkadirova. Laura Watanabe suffered in round two, Giula Takahashi in the penultimate round.
The task in Otocec is to build on the Zrenjanin performance. In the junior boys’ singles event, Napat Thanmathikom is the no.8 seed, in the cadet boys’ singles competition the no.2 seed, behind Brazil’s Shim Joon. Likewise alongside Tanapat, the duo occupies the no.2 cadet boys’ team seeded position behind Belgium’s Tim Giltia and Nolan Lerat, both players yet to really make an impact on the international scene.
Similarly, Giulia Takahashi and Laura Watanabe are prominent in both the junior girls’ singles and cadet girls’ singles events.
In the junior girls’ singles, Laura Watanabe is the no.3 seed, Giulia Takahashi the no.5 seed; the top seeded spot being owned by the Czech Republic’s Linda Zaderova ahead of Serbia’s Radmila Tominjak. Slovenia’s Lea Paulin is the no.4 seed. In the junior girls’ team competition, notably lining up alongside colleagues Katarzyna Strazar and Lara Opeka, the trio occupies the top seeded spot ahead of Radmila Tominjak, who joins forces with colleague Reka Bezeg and Bulgaria’s Kalina Hristova.
Also, Bruna Takahashi and Laura Watanabe are prominent in the junior girls’ doubles; they are the no.2 seeds, one place behind Reka Bezeg and Radmila Tominjak.
In the cadet girls’ singles competition, for the Brazilians, it is somewhat role reversal, Giulia Takahashi reserves the top seeded spot ahead of Poland’s Anna Brzyska and Italy’s Nicole Arlia, Laura Watanabe is the no.4 seed. Together, they are top seeds in the cadet girls’ team event as well as in the cadet girls’ doubles. Next in line in both disciplines is the partnership of Anna Brzyska and colleague, Zuzanna Pawelec.
Contenders for honours; in the junior boys’ singles event very much the name to note is that of Croatia’s Ivor Ban. The runner up earlier this year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in the Czech Republic, he is the top seed ahead of Slovakia’s Adam Klajber and Belgium’s Degros.
Colleagues Leon Sanek and Lavro Zovko are the next in line; they join Ivor Ban in the junior boys’ team event. Together they head the list ahead of the trio comprising Brazil’s Kenzo Carmo and Shom Joon who ally with Belgium’s Nicholas Degros.
Play commences with the team events.