2015 Butterfly Canadian Junior and Cadet Open: Can Kanak and Prachi Jha Prove the Adage in Markham?
Courtesy of ITTF
Unique, but perhaps it was not unexpected; one year ago at the Butterfly 2014 Canadian Junior and Cadet Open, Kanak Jha and Prachi Jha won the respective Junior Boys’ Singles and Junior Girls’ Singles titles.
It was the first time in the history of the ITTF Junior Circuit that a brother and sister combination had achieved the feat.
However, both started as favorites for a podium finish. Kanak Jha was the top seed; Prachi Jha was the second seed behind the host nation’s Anqi Luo.
Now, just over one year later at the 2015 Canadian Junior and Cadet Open, the siblings are favorites to repeat the feat.
They are the top seeds in the respective events, the tournament once again being staged in Markham, commencing on Monday May 11th and concluding on Thursday May 14th.
ITTF Junior Circuit Finals
Understandably the target is not only to repeat the feat of April 2014; also the longer term goal is to qualify for the end of year Finals.
Both succeeded last year; they were present in Asuncion, Paraguay earlier this year in January and although there was no place on the podium, both no doubt returned home the richer for the experience.
In the Boys’ Singles event in the South American city it was third place in the group for Kanak Jha and thus no progress to the main draw. He was beaten by Japan’s Tonin Ryuzaki and Russia’s Sadi Ismailov but notably overcame India’s Mudit Dani.
However, for Prachi Jha, life was one step better; she finished in second place in her group. She was beaten by Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Chiao, the champion elect, but enjoyed success against Uruguay’s Maria Pia Lorenzotti and Egypt’s Aida Rahmo.
A place in the last eight reserved, Russia’s Ekaterina Guseva ended progress.
Podium Finish Needed
In order to qualify once again for the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals, a minimum podium finish would help greatly; to really boost their chances, the top step of the rostrum.
Both have made one appearance to date on the 2015 ITTF Junior Circuit, competing at Swedish Junior and Cadet Open, part of the Safir International Tournament, each suffered a second round exit, Kanak Jha was beaten by Japan’s Yuta Tanaka, Prachi Jha by Chinese Taipei’s Lin Po-Hsuan.
Success in Sweden
Defeat against a Japanese opponent as had happened the previous month in Asuncion; however in Sweden, Kanak Jha did underline the fact that he is more than capable when facing adversaries from the Land of the Rising Sun.
He won the Cadet Boys’ Singles with four of his five adversaries being from Japan. He accounted for Takeru Kashiwa in his opening encounter, before overcoming Frenchman Damien Llorca to reserve his place in the quarterfinals.
Impressively, he withstood the Japanese challenge, beating Yu Kayama, Koyo Kanamitsu and Yuki Yudo to arrest the title.
Success at cadet level and that is a major fact we must remember about Kanak Jha, he is only 14 years old and when he plays, increasingly he is the focus of attention.
Equally, Prachi Jha is only 18 years old and both are now very much pivotal players in the United States Team. They were both on duty at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo and at the more recent QOROS 2015 World Championships in Suzhou.
One Member Unbeaten
Furthermore in late March in the Argentine capital city of Buenos Aires, lining up alongside Jim Butler and Timothy Wang; Kanak Jha was the one member of the United States outfit to remain unbeaten as a place in the forthcoming Pan American Games was secured.
He is one of the most experienced 14 year olds in the world of sport; in Markham as with sister, Prachi, the knowledge gained may well count.
They do say history repeats itself.