10 May 2021

Portugal is the destination with the north of the country in focus as Tuesday 11th May signals the start of the 2021 WTT Youth Contender Vila Real Open, the first in the World Table Tennis (WTT) newly formed series of youth tournaments.

Play in the boys’ event fulfils the first three days of play with four age groups contested (under 19, under 17, under 15, under 13).

by Ian Marshall

Runner up at the 2019 Polish Junior and Cadet Open, Hungary’s Csaba Andras is the leading name on duty; he heads the under 19 boys’ singles seeding. Next in line to Csaba Andras appear the names of Croatia’s Ivor Ban, Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse and very much the player to note, Germany’s Kay Stumper.

Ivor Ban has a particular liking for Portugal having won the junior boys’ singles title at the 2019 Portugal Junior and Cadet Open in Guimarães. Similarly, earlier in the year at the ITTF Challenge Tour Thailand Open, Adrien Rassenfosse reached the under 21 men’s singles semi-finals.

Both are worthy performances but perhaps Kay Stumper is a step ahead – at the Europe Youth Top 10, he won the junior boys’ singles title in both 2019 and 2020. Additionally, in 2019 he was the runner up at the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open.

Europe very much to the fore, it’s somewhat different in the under 17 boys’ singles, the top name is from Latin America. Puerto Rico’s Angel Naranjo tops the order ahead of Belgium’s Louis Laffineur. They are followed immediately by the Romanian quartet of Darius Movileanu, Andrei Teodor Istrate, Eduard Ionescu and Iulian Chirita.

Notably, Iulian Chirita is the top name in the under 15 boys’ singles ahead of Spain’s Daniel Berzosa.

Angel Naranjo was a junior boys’ singles bronze medallist just over a year ago in Sweden; Louis Laffineur claimed cadet boys’ fourth place at the 2019 Europe Youth Top 10.

Impressive but arguably the Romanians are even more impressive. In 2019 Darius Movileanu won the cadet boys’ singles title at both the European Youth Championships and Europe Youth Top 10; in the same year, Andrei Teodor Istrate secured the cadet boys’ singles title at the Portugal Junior and Cadet Open.

Meanwhile, Eduard Ionescu was a junior boys’ singles semi-finalist in 2020 at the Czech Junior and Cadet Open, Iulian Chirita the under 15 boys’ runner up in 2019 and 2020 at the Europe Youth Top 10.

Players with notable experience, in the youngest age group it is very much a scenario of treading new waters. Hungary’s Botond Zoltan Varga and Portugal’s Tiago Abiodun are the leading under 13 boys’ singles entrants.


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