by Simon Daish & Ian Marshall
The traditional seven events form the schedule, the boys’ and girls’ team events commence matters, the finals being played on Wednesday 27th November, the day the mixed doubles event starts; the boys’ singles, girls’ singles, boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles begin on Thursday 28th November. Play concludes on Sunday 1st December.
Winner on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit in both France and Bahrain, Lev Katsman leads Russia, the top seeds, in the boys’ team event; he is supported by Maxsim Grebnev, Artem Tikhonov and Vladimir Sidorenko. Next in line is the Chinese Taipei outfit formed by Tai Ming-Wei, Huag Yu-Je, Huang Yan-Cheng and Feng Yi-Hsin.
Team to note
However, the team to note is very much China, the no.3 seeds and defending champions; they are represented by Xu Yingbin, Xiang Peng, Liu Yebo and Zeng Beixun. The French trio comprising Lilian Bardet, Vincent Picard, Alexis Lebrun and Dorian Zheng complete the top four seeded teams.
Notably this year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit Tai Ming-Wei won in Oman and on home soil in Taipei City, Huang Yu-Jen succeeded in Australia; Lilian Bardet reserved the top step of the podium in both Poland and Morocco. In addition Xiang Peng emerged the champion in Italy, Liu Yebo in Hungary but none can match Xu Yingbin. He won the men’s singles title at the ITTF Challenge Polish Open.
In the boys’ singles event, Xiang Peng is the top seed, followed by Lev Katsman, Iran’s Amin Ahmadian and Vincent Picard; Amin Ahmadian won the junior boys’ singles title earlier this year in Hong Kong.
Notably, Maksim Grebnev and Lev Katsman, the runners up last year in Bendigo occupy top spot in the boys’ doubles seeding, ahead of Lilian Bardet and Vincent Picard; Feng Yi-Hsin and Tai Ming-Wei occupy the no.3 seeded position ahead of Xiang Peng Zeng Beixun.
Aiming for Cape Town repeat
Meanwhile, in the girls’ team event, China reserves top spot; Shi Xunyao, the girls’ singles winner in Cape Town in 2016, leads the line; she is supported by Kuai Man, Che Yi and Wu Yangchen. Next in the order of merit is Japan represented by Miyu Nagasaki, Miyuu Kihara, Kyoka Idesawa and Haruna Ojio.
Russia with Elizabet Abraamia, Anastasia Kolish, Mariia Tailakova and Olga Vishiakova on duty occupy the no.3 seeded position; they are listed one place ahead of Chinese Taipei’s Yu Hsiu-Ting, Cai Fong-En, Chien Tung-Chuan and Lee Wan-Hsuan.
Impressively earlier this year at the ITTF Challenge Polish Open, Chen Yi, the cadet girls’ singles Asian champion, was the women’s singles runner up; Miyuu Kihara won the women’s singles title at the ITTF Challenge Croatian Open.
Also Miyu Nagasaki succeeded in the junior girls’ singles event at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships. In addition on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Elizabet Abraamian won in Serbia, Yu Hsiu-Ting in Australia.
In the junior girls’ singles event, Wu Yangchen is the top seed followed by Amy Wang of the United States, Yu Hsiu-Ting and Miyu Nagasaki. Amy Wang was crowned Pan American junior girls’ singles champion in September. Chen Yi and Wu Yangchen head the girls’ doubles seeding followed by Kuai Man and Shi Xunyao. Chien Tung-Chuan and Katarzyna Wegrzyn form the third seeded pair, next on the list being Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki.
Understandably eyes will focus on the host nation; in the boys’ events Yanapong Panagitgun leads the line, for the girls it is Pakawan Karnthang.
The tournament will be preceded on Saturday 23rd November by the Pan American Championships junior boys’ singles semi-finals and finals, which were not able to be completed earlier in the year in Mexico.