2016 Belgium Junior & Cadet Open: Owen Cathcart in Tune in Spa
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2016 Belgium Junior and Cadet Open: Owen Cathcart – Photo Courtesy of ITTF

2016 Belgium Junior & Cadet Open: Owen Cathcart in Tune in Spa

Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Irish Hearts Are Happy, Owen Cathcart in Tune in Spa

2016 Belgium Junior & Cadet Open
Courtesy of ITTF

Impressive in the Cadet Boys’ Team event one day earlier at the 2016 Belgium Junior and Cadet Open in Spa, when he had guided Ireland to a bronze medal finish; Owen Cathcart was even more impressive on the concluding day of play, Sunday April 24th.

Currently listed at no.57 on the Under 15 Boys’ World Rankings, the teenager, who celebrated his 14th birthday some two weeks earlier, won the Cadet Boys’ Singles title beating Spain’s Sergi Grau at the final hurdle in a hard fought five games duel (11-4, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6).

Worthy Success
It was a most worthy success against an adversary in good form; at the semi-final stage Sergi Grau had accounted for Louis Laine Campino of France in three straight games (11-3, 11-6, 11-9).

An inspired performance from Sergi Grau, it was very much the same from Owen Cathcart in the penultimate round, he accounted for Belgium’s Quentin Jacques (11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3).

Stand Aside Carl Frampton
He is the first player from Northern Ireland to win a title of any description on the ITTF Junior Circuit; a member of the Ormeau Table Tennis Club in Belfast, he started to play table tennis when only eight years old and has been guided by local coach, Keith Knox.

“For myself and his Ireland coach John Murphy, this was equivalent to Carl Frampton winning the WBA,” said Keith Knox; Carl Frampton is a professional boxer from Northern Ireland; in February he beat Scott Quigg to win the WBA title to added to the IBF super-bantamweight, he already owns.

Great Pride
“No one from Northern Ireland or Ireland has won this tournament before”, added Keith Knox when talking to the BBC. “He’s such a hard working lad, you could put him into any sport and he’d succeed. We’re just really proud of him.”

“When Irish eyes are smiling, sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring”; on a Spring afternoon in Spa a young man to follow in the footsteps of Irish notables like Tommy Caffrey, Jimmy Langan, Colum Slevin and Jonny Cowan made his mark.

Air of Revenge
Defeat for Belgium but there was success for the host nation on the concluding day of action; also there was an air of revenge.

Maelys Dahy won the Cadet Girls’ Singles title beating Lucy Farcy of France in the final (11-8, 11-9, 11-8), after having accounted for Sharon Janssen of the Netherlands one round earlier.

Earlier French Success
In the counterpart semi-final Lucie Farcy had beaten colleague Lou Frete, the player with whom she had joined forces one day earlier to win the Cadet Girls’ Team event at the expense of Maelys Dahu and Jana Bernard

On that occasion Maelys Dahy had lost to Lou Frete (11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-4) after Jana Bernard had experienced defeat at the hands of Licie Farcy (11-9, 11-6, 11-6). Proceedings had concluded with a straight games doubles success for the French duo (13-11, 11-6, 14-12).

Solèane Anciaux 
Success for Belgium in the Cadet Girls’ Singles event, success was also enjoyed in the Hopes Girls’ Singles competition where Solèane Anciaux emerged successful.

She secured the title at the final expense of compatriot Sara Devos (11-7, 11-13, 11-5, 11-7), having accounted for Eloise Duvvier, also from Belgium in the penultimate round (15-13, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7). In the corresponding semi-final contest, again an all Belgian affair, Sara Devos had beaten Candice Lardinios (11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 2-11, 11-5).

Gold for India 
Gold for Belgium, in the counterpart Hopes Boys’ Singles event it was the top prize for India.

Payas Jain secured the title beating Belgium’d Alesi Massart in the semi-finals (11-5, 11-2, 11-8), before overcoming the Czech Republic’s Simon Belik (11-7, 5-11, 11-3, 11-6). In the counterpart semi-final Simon Belik had beaten colleague Filip Karel (11-9, 11-8, 11-9).

Next Stop 
Play concluded in Spa, the next stop on the 2016 ITTF Junior Circuit is Vilanova de Gala; play begins in Portugal on Wednesday April 27th.

Visit the official 2016 Belgium Junior & Cadet Open competition page for complete results & coverage.

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