A Return to Scene of Greatest Triumph, Kanak Jha on Duty in Burnaby
Courtesy of ITTF
Sensationally on Thursday 27th June, Kanak Jha of the United States won the Men’s Singles title at the 2014 ITTF-North America Cup; born on Monday June 19, 2000, at the time of his success he was a mere 14 years and eight days old
Furthermore, it was an achievement that nearly never happened.
He was not included on the original entry list. He was only entered after the deadline date had passed.
The United States received two extra places, following the fact that no applications had been received from Bermuda!
Lost First Match
Also when proceedings began there was little evidence of what was to follow; he was beaten by compatriot Adam Hugh in his very first match in the tournament.
Later the two were to meet in the final; gaining in confidence Kanak Jha turned the tables.
No Second Chance
Now, Kanak Jha returns to the scene of arguably his greatest triumph; just as in 2014 the ITTF-North America Cup was staged in Burnaby, so is the 2016 edition.
Proceedings will be held in entirety on Friday June 24th.
The difference is that he is not a late replacement but arguably the biggest difference is that he cannot afford to lose his first match as two years ago. In 2014 there was a group stage followed by a knock-out stage; in 2016 for the eight players competing it is knock-out from the very first match. There is no second chance.
Only Previous Winner
Notably Kanak Jha is the only previous winner competing in the Men’s Singles event; he will be in action for the third consecutive time, having last year relinquished his crown when beaten at the semi-final stage in seven games by colleague Timothy Wang.
A third appearance for Kanak Jha, it will be a fourth for the Canadian duo of Jeremy Hazin and Marko Medjugorac.
Jeremy Hazin competed in 2012 in Mississauga, the following year in Westchester and one year ago in Markham. Marko Medjugorac was also present in 2012 and 2015; his one other appearance was in Burnaby in 2014.
However, his memories of two years ago in Burnaby are not as happy as those of Kanak Jha; he was beaten at the quarterfinal stage by André Ho. Likewise one year ago in Markham it was around of the last eight exit for Marko Medjugorac, his nemesis, a certain Kanak Jha.
Meanwhile, for Kunal Chodri of the United States, he is making his third appearance in the competition. He was present in the inaugural edition in 2011 in Mississauga and last year in Markham.
Likewise, Sharon Alguetti of the United States, alongside Canada’s Alexander Moran and Guo Moxi made their first appearance in the ITTF-North America Cup one year ago in Markham; they are all on the entry list for Markham.
The one newcomer is Feng Yijun of the United States and could he be the favorite for the title; earlier this year he emerged successful at the ITTF-North America Olympic Games Qualification Tournament.
A major challenger for honors; will a new name appear on the roll of honor, time will tell.