Have to admit that I always liked Czech athletes. Throw them a ball and good things will happen. You name it – I will take it. Over the years we have seen wonderful soccer players – good tennis players and competitive teams in nearly all sports. Add another classic piece to the puzzle – Jaroslav Haseks master piece of a book ; The Good Soldier Svejk and the picture of love becomes complete.
Always a Force in Table Tennis
In our sport – Table Tennis they have always been a force. Not neccearily in the top of the ranks, but often sniffing around the podium for success. In fact few countries have such a depth of players to show at the international level. The Future of Czech Table Tennis is put in sharp focus during the European Youth Championships and the main hope for success lays on the shoulders of the seventeen year old Pavel Sirucek from the Ostrava region – coming into the singles event as the seventh seeded European.
ITTF Junior Rookie of the Year
If we ever had an ITTF Rookie of the Year award to give out in Table Tennis, Sircuek would be the main candidate. He started the season as the 77 ranked junior player in the world – got his breaktrough as late as February when he finished runner up at the Safirs International ITTF Junior Circuit in Sweden and then followed up with his first ITTF JC title win in the Spanish Junior Open in May.
Stunning development indeed, and well worth a closer examination. We asked the young President of his Czech club ; SKTS Banik Havirov http://www.sksthavirov.cz/, the well spoken Nikolas Endal to give us a few clues.
“Well, for a start we simply have a good group of players doing their daily practice in our club Nikolas explains. Older and experienced players like Miroslav Bindatch, Marek Cihak and occasionally also Petr Korbel who lives in the region, are simply very good training partners for a young upcoming player like Pavel.”
As for Siruceks future – high expectations are in play , both for the club and for Czech Table Tennis.
“We are happy to have Pavel signed for another two years. Our team finsihed fifth in the Czech Extra liga last year – a position we are trying to improve upon. He is also now focusing on his sport more or less fulltime and I have to say that I also like his physical stature. He is big – has a good reach and plays with a stable technique ” said Nikolas Endal who also carries the title – Vice President in the Czech Table Tennis Association.
Czech Juniors in the Quarterfinals
In Prague he is the nr one hope – leader and captain for the Czech Junior Boys Team who on Sunday advanced to the quarterfinal where they bright and early tomorrow morning will go head to head with the Germans. The surprise matchup in the junior boy’s quarters is no doubt Italia vs. Portugal. Sweden and France are otherwise two good looking favorites and repeat of last year’s final seem likely at this stage.
Romania and Germany looking strong
There is at least one major surprise to report from the junior girls’ action. A feisty Luxembourg team is in the quarterfinals following a hard fought 3-2 win against Ukraine. Another tight match in the evening session was a five matches encounter between France and Russia that saw the French girls advancing to play the favorites Romania in the quarterfinal. Germany is clearly another favourite – but yet to be tested. Slovenia did not post much of threat in todays match and Luxembourg is hardly good enough to compete tommorrow morning.