It was a day that started with all LOVE for the country of Slovenia. The tight-knitted group of people – basically a mixture of local heroes and national associations officials and staff have done a great job in setting the scene for the 2013 ITTF World ( thank god for that word ..) Cadet Challenge in Otocec . Beautiful it is too, this part of the world, and even better the summer seems to hang on pretty good as we are badeing in sunshine and enjoying seasonally hot temperatures so far.
If the sunshine did its work outside – we had some excellent young players heating things up inside the venue when the team event kicked of the 2013 ITTF WCC. In fact – the ever so truth-seeking Eleven Point Blog would like to point out that this probably was if not the best ever group stage of the team event – for sure it was the most energetic.
The play – the sounds and the sights of sixty-four young emerging future stars of our sport were on great display on Otocec allthrough the opening day.
In fact, we saw some great drama and more importantly I would say ground-breaking performances. On then girls side we had Team Europe’s shining star ; Adina DIACONU finishing off all her six opponents with a total game score of 18-0. This is a ultra-talented girl that quicker than quick will advance deep into the European ranks. Give her one year and she will be on the same level as the Romanian senior national team .Not bad for a girl that just reached the tender age of fourteen.. !
Adriana DIAZ from Puerto Rico struggled mildly in her first two singles against Slovenia during the morning session – but came to dance in the afternoon in what must have been the biggest sensation in the history of the World Cadet Challenge when she took out the nr 9 in the world (15) Li Yiran from CHN in three straight games. Diaz was simply flying in an excellent gutsy performance that by all means made a middle age ITTF veteran blogger grasp for air as well as for words to describe it… Better perhaps to say; what happened here ?
Or shall we just enjoy the moment and conclude together that the ITTF Hopes programme was showing us its strength as an educational and motivational tool? Speaking to both girls as well as coaches on duty after the match it seemed that way.. But then again – I have always known that if you ever touch the symbol of Hope – good things – one way or the other will happen?
Also the boys’ competition showcased International cadet level table tennis as its best. The semifinals tomorrow will involve Slovenia facing Team Europe in a match that they for sure can win if Darko JORGIC – the nr one Slovenian is up to the task. The other encounter has Latin America playing Team Asia , who from the look of it seems stronger than ever before with three left-handers – all with extremely good services leading the way.