Italy will host for the first time World Junior Tabletennis Championships. The 15th edition of the event will take place at the Baltera Expo Center in Riva del Garda (Trento) from 26th November to 3rd December and will be organized by the Italian Tabletennis Federation (FITET), which has been commissioned by the International Table Tennis Federation in partnership with Garda Trentino Committee; FITET has gained a consolidated experience, in 2014 European Youth Championships took place in Riva del Garda, and in the previous year also the Italian Championships.
During the World Junior Tabletennis Championships, there will be Under 18 athletes, about 96 male and 96 female, coming from every corner of the planet. Top 14 of the international rankings are automatically qualified and the others will gain admission through the points won in world circuit tournaments. Each country will have at most four male players and four female players and the number will go up to six for Italy as host Association, which will convene men’s and women’s team. The schedule provides first of all team events, and then singles – male and female – and doubles events, with 48 pairs participants, and the double mix event, with 96 pairs in total.
«I thank the Ittf – said FITET president Renato Di Napoli – for giving us the confidence to organize such an important event. We are proud to be the landmark of whole tabletennis for eight days, after being in 2014. This is a great responsibility, which we will face with the passion that characterizes our work every day. Riva del Garda will bring all the most talents of the international youth movement, destined to face in the near future the main stages of the senior circuit and maybe many of them will reach the goal of any athlete, and will be the protagonists at the Olympic Games. This event will be a fantastic test bench for our young players and will certainly help them to grow. This iridated show will be important to all of our members coming in Riva del Garda, who are sure will not miss the opportunity to watch live great sport time. I also trust that it will be a promotional medium for those who know ping pong as an hobby or a simple game to be played as amateur with friends; they will have the chance to discover a sport that requires considerable physical and athletic abilities and that is able to give fun and excitement to those who are approaching».
The previous editions took place in Santiago de Chile (2003), Kobe in Japan (2004), Linz in Austria (2005), Cairo in Egypt (2006), Palo Alto in the United States (2007), Madrid in Spain (2008 ), Morocco (2013), Shanghai in China (2014), Vendée in France (2015), Cartagena in Colombia (2009), Bratislava in Slovakia (2010), Manama in Bahrain (2011), Hyderabad in India And Cape Town in South Africa (2016).
Italy climbed the podium in Rabat, with Leonardo Mutti, who won the bronze medal in the mixed event, in pair with the croatian Lea Rakovac. Always in 2013 Mutti has also reached the quarter-finals in the single event, the only European athlet to succeed.
All the strongest players in field came out of the World Junior Tabletennis Championships, which graduated the Japanese phenomenon Tomokazu Harimoto last year. He was only 13 years old, and this season he made an irresistible climb that led him to the final quarter-finals of the Düsseldorf World Cup in Germany, and to the 20th place in the Ittf ranking.
Other outgoing champions are chinese girl Shi Xunyao, koreans Cho Seungmin and An Jaehyn in the double male event, the Romanian girls Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman in pair as well, and koreans Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho in the mixed event. Teams have imposed Japan both in men’s match, 3-0 in final on South Korea (third place for Taipei and China), and in woman’s, 3-1 on China (bronze for Hong Kong and South Korea).
Medal record is held by China (79 golds, 42 silver and 56 bronze), followed by Japan (10 O, 24 A, 30 B) and South Korea (5 O, 15 A, 49 B). The first European nation is Germany (1 O, 2 A, 18 B), fifth in ranking, ahead of Romania (1 O, 1 A, 9.5 B) and France (2 A, 7.5 B).