The World Junior Table Tennis Championships are now officially open. In the morning of Sunday November 26th, the traditional parade of the national teams inaugurated the event taking place at the Baltera Fair in Riva del Garda, ready to stage the exciting challenges among the top prospects in the World. The display of the 43 National teams, the public’s applauses, the welcome by Italian Federation President Renato di Napoli, Riva del Garda’s Vice-Mayor Massimo Accorsi, Garda Trentino Spa President Marco Benedetti, and ITTF Deputy-CEO Glenn Tepper.
The opening in Garda Trentino found Italy’s boys in good shape, as they breezed through Brazil and Algeria without giving up a single match. Anyway, they will be called to a steep challenge tomorrow, as they meet Japan and Germany, two of the top teams in the event. Instead he home ladies could not make it to the second phase: after seeing off Australia, the Italian girls gave up to the favorite Czech team.
Generally speaking, little to no surprises were seen in the eight 3-team groups (four for each tournament), as all the top-ranked teams eventually advanced. Among women, Serbia and Puerto Rico showed an exciting matchup between two of the top athletes in the singles’ ranking, Izabela Lupulesku and Adriana Diaz. Whilst the Center-American took the edge in the direct encounter against the rival, Serbia still managed to clinch a 3-2 win. “I really love Italy – said the 17-year-old Puerto Rican – it’s one of my favorite Countries in the World. I am excited to play and try to give my best here in Garda Trentino, an area that I don’t know yet and I am looking forward to discover.”
The opening day is now in the books. From tomorrow, the big guns and the top names in the game will get to the table. They might be young, but the level is nothing shy of stellar.
Photo: Antonino Amato (Italy)