Twenty some-odd days and a spotlight will illuminate Riva del Garda, hosting the next World Junior Championships from 26th November to 3rd December 2017. The International Table Tennis Federation U18 world rankings male and female released early November offer some very interesting point of view, although teams and players got the qualification to WJTTC based on their position in September’s ranking.
Tomokazu Harimoto tops the list with over 400-point gap between him and the rest of the world. In spite of his young age, 14, the Japanese skipped to the head of the class, as well as #4 Chinese Niu Guankai. Indeed, Harimoto (2nd on the Under 21 world ranking e 16th on the general list) and Niu showed an extremely precocious talent and they now occupy the first two position of the U15 ranking too. Another Chinese athlete, Xue Fei, is making strides and he’s now second bypassing the Japanese Yuto Kizukuri.
Japan is also leader in the girls’ ranking: Miu Hirano (number one on the Under 21 world ranking) and Mima Ito are the best female, but 4 out of top-10 comes from Japan, not to say of Miyuu Kihara e Satsuki Odo, both 13, whose remarkable results turned down the 14th and 19th place in the ranking respectively. Chinese Shi Xunyao, women’s single reigning champ, is actually ninth.
Only two non-Asian athletes appear in the male Top10: Cristian Pletea (7th) from Romania and Kanak Jha (9th) from United States. Chinese and Japanese supremacy is chrystal clear but also Taipei and South Corea – men’s double and mixed double reigning champs – are in the first column of the table. Asia monopolized the women’s Top10 too, even though Puertorico’s Adriana Diaz kept the eight spot amid Chinese Japanese players. On the Top20 can’t miss Adina Diaconu (11th) and Andreea Dragoman (20th), Romanian cosy pairings winning the women’s double title last year in Capetown.
Best ranked Italian player is Matteo Mutti, with high hopes around him at upcoming WJTTC in Riva del Garda. The 17-year-old (brother of Leonardo, 183th in the World ranking) actually seats at spot #42. Antonino Amato (56th), Carlo Rossi (60th) and Daniele Pinto (72nd) also stay in the top-100. The Italian best female is Jamila Laurenti (66th): just 15, number 13 of the U15 world ranking., Laurenti promises to be a true table tennis prospect.