(by Steve Hopkins / Photo by ITTF)
The 2019 ITTF Junior Circuit, Swedish Junior & Cadet Open concluded this weekend in Orebro. The tournament features eight events: Junior Boys, Junior Girls, Junior Boys Doubles, Junior Girls Doubles, Cadet Boys, Cadet Girls, Mini Cadet Boys, and Mini Cadet Girls. Over 300 juniors participated, including 18 from the USA.
The top seeded boys were Truls Moregard of Sweden, Yew En Koen Pang of Singapore, and Kay Stumper of Germany. Nikhil Kumar was the top American at No. 7. The top seeded girls were Goi Rui Xuan of Singapore, Prithika Pavade of France, and Yukari Sugasawa of Japan. The US did not have any direct qualifier in the Girl’s Junior singles. In each event, the top sixteen seeds were placed directly into the main draw and the other players all competed in qualifiers – with the top sixteen joining the top seeds in the knock out rounds.
The Junior Boys title went to Sweden’s Truls Moregard. A year ago, he won the same event – this year his performance was dominant winning 24 of 29 games and culminating with a 4-1 win over Kay Stumper of Germany in the Final. USA’s Nikhil Kumar advanced all the way to the semifinals with wins over Shevnin of Russia, Friis of Sweden, Harada of Japan, and Iusupov of Russia.
The Junior Girls event was dominated by Japan. Japanese players advanced to six of the quarterfinal spots, and all four semifinal spots (and both final spots) were filled by Japanese players. The final was won by Kaho Akae.
Team USA had a solid showing at the events. In addition to the bronze by Nikhil Kumar in Junior Boys noted above, Team USA’s Emily Tan also won a bronze medal in the Mini Cadet Girls event. Results from the Safir International events which ran concurrently included Ted Li’s gold medal in U14 Boys, Sabrina Zhu’s bronze medal in U16 Girls, and a Bronze in U14 by both Linda Shu and Swathi Giri.