It takes a lot of pure guts , commitment and planning skills to organise the European Youth Championships. Take this ; Nine full days of action, twenty-nine courts going from early morning to late evening, six hundred and forty-two athletes and more than threehundredandfifty coaches , umpires and officials. A massive undertaking it is.
Had a first glint of the action today, when day two of the team event concluded with some interesting play-off matches. Now, it does take a genius to understand the logic behind the playing system for teams at the European Youth – and most certainly a higher genius to try to explain it. From what i understand , it all comes down to a cross-over match between the lower seeded “B- group” teams finishing seventeen or worse in the previous year and the higher seeded (1-12) teams. The Looser in those matches – comes down with few, if any chances, to come back in the competition, whilst the winners are still in the race.
Russia in action
Both the Russian boys teams ; juniors as well as the cadet team ,were involved in two matches of great importance late Saturday night. They won both as the cadet boys defeated Serbia 3-0 and the juniors outlasted Denmark in a nail-biter 3-2. In other action the Hungarian junior boys made sure to keep their medal hopes alive showing no mercy agianst Slovakia in a quick 3-0 victory.
Girls junior action had Russia defeating Croatia and Belarus outmanouvering Serbia to advance to medal play. In the Cadet girls event Netherlands won against Slovakia and the home team Czech Republic cleared their way to success follwoing a tight 3-2 win against Poland.
Success or stinging defeat set aside the European Youth Championships Team event continues on Sunday. The most important matches will come in the afternoon as the championships stage kicks in at 1500.
Even though it was day of what i would call quick browsing, two players immediately caught the old , but still hungry coaches eye of mine. Jonathan Groth from Denmark – a highly commended second year junior , looked solid in all aspects of the game when he won two key matches vs Russia in the evening session. Groth stands ,walks looks and moves like Michael Maze – but i wonder if not the basic technique and his physical stature is a bit stronger than Maze in the same age.
We might have to wait a while for the next player on tonights shortlist. But i can promise you that there is much to love about 12 year old Joa Geraldo from Portugal who succesfully helped his team to advance to the final playoff stage on Sunday recording several important points during the day. Ronaldo or Geraldo ?… Not a bad name either. This young boys will be in action 0900 Sunday. A good reason for an early breakfast and a trip to the O2 dome.
From Prague – Mikael Andersson