It took more than five years for an official ETTU event to return to Terni, Italy. Last time the balls of fury were flying in the relatively speaking small “Palatennistavlo” venue was back in 2008, when the European Youth Championships in some miraculous way was organized. Hard to imagine how that was logistically possible in a venue of this size – but like many things in this country someone from above must have appeared in the last minute to make it all work.
But here we are – back in Terni – an industrial town located one hour train ride North East from the mother of all capitals in the world?! ; Rome. This time with the future of European Table Tennis in terms of Junior and cadet age athletes gathered for the 2013 European Top 10 competition, an event traditionally organized in January each year. But let’s not dive into the reasons for staging it now – better late than never I guess, and instead focus on the reality – the future of European Table Tennis as it is displayed over the three days here in Italy. .. Or better say impressions from the first day out of three. No doubt that the nine round all versus all format also this time will deliver its fair share of mental and physical breakdowns before the dust settles late Sunday evening.
Cadet Boys; Three French musketeers’ have come to Terni to win the title. With the fourth and clearly the best Alexander Cassain assigned for other duties , the hard-hitting but rather slow moving Joe Seyfried came out of the first day of french battling french with all wins. But I wonder if it will be enough against the reigning European Cadet Champion Tomas Polansky from the Czech Republic as he cruised through the opening day dropping only three games in total.
Cadet Girls; Best match during the opening day came late in the evening when the two youngest players in the competition engaged in a furious seven games battle. The fourteen year old Italian female hope – and yes she has some good attributes already in place ; Cristina Dumitrache saved four match points against the twelve year old Russian Anastasia Kolish , and came out victorious 12-10 in the seventh , much to the joy of her Italian supporters . Fun to watch – no doubt two great young athletes and future Euro Stars.
Junior Boys; Smooth and cool start for both Alexander Robinot from France and the steadily improving Polish coming man; Jakub Dyjas. Too early to tell of course – but both these guys seem to be on the move towards something after bagging all of their matches on the opening day.
Junior Girls; And.. Here comes Nina Mittelham from Germany looking for her second major youth win of the year. She is about a good English mile ahead of her European competitors when it comes to touch (make it two miles in the producing spin category) and technical /style readiness. Having said that – there a few weaknesses to report as well. She is way too far west or east – take your pick when the opponent finds deep forehand. No doubt that whatever Asian opponents may show in the World Juniors in Morocco later this year – they will have no problem finding the right tactics against a German female star in the making?!