Scenic Riva del Gardo in Italia provides the backdrop for the European Youth Championships held from July 11th – 20th.
Over 600 Players from 45 European Countries meet up on the famous Garda lake to set the bar for European Table Tennis and show off their skills in the small town with its 9000 population.
Of course, we are right in the middle of the action, having an eye on our Butterfly-Youngsters and writing little reviews of the day for your reading pleasure.
Enjoy new exclusive videos from all competitions of the European Youth Championships, almost daily.
For more videos click to watch the EYC 2014 playlist in the official Butterfly Youtube Channel.
European Youth Championships 2014 – A review by Richard Prause and Dirk Schimmelpfennig
Dirk Schimmelpfennig — Sports Director of the German Table tennis Federation
“From a german point of view, especially the Girls played outstandingly, winning medals in the under-15 competition. Except for this, the German athletes have all been a bit farther from the podium than expected. We have to keep on working extensively with our players in order to be successful.
France and Romania have really been the dominant nations in the youth department. Overall, European players will have a tough time winning medals against their asian counterparts, but it seems possible again.
Our focus has to be on the development of the 15-23 year old players.”
Richard Prause — Head coach of the Werner Schlager Academy
“The European Youth Championships are a mandatory event in my eyes. From the ETTU perspective as well as from the WSA.
Some new talents showed up in the first row, others remained in the spotlight. Alexandre CASSIN (FRA), Rares SIPOS (ROU) and Adina DIACONU (ROU) are just a few examples of these young talents, others being Chantal MANTZ and Nina MITTELHAM (GER).
I have also seen a lot of potential in the cadet’s competition. Macek KOLODZIEJCZYK or Tiago LI, who still have some years in the cadets group ahead of them.
Overall, making the jump from the European to the World youth Championships will be difficult to predict. I do think the young players from China, Korea and Japan are a bit stronger, but there is still some time to work on developing the European players until the event. Also, most European players start to catch up to their asian counterparts after they finish their school education, some have been able to even overtake their opponents. This is a goal we should work for. ”
European Youth Championships 2014 – Crowning event
Germany’s Chantal MANTZ and France’s Alexandre CASSIN were crowned champions today at the finals matches in Riva del Gardo.
These two names were certainly among the favorites to win before the event, and they pulled through all the way to the title.
For the young french player Alexandre Cassin the goal has now become to inch closer to the top 100 in the World Ranking, such as his compatriot Quentin ROBINOT did. He certainly posseses the means to do so.
Chantal MANTZ and Nina MITTELHAM were playing in an all-german finals match, with the former emerging victorious. Both have excellent prospects in the women’s table tennis scene, Chantal only has to pay attention to not be pushed away from the table all too often. In the distance, she can win a point, but not a match. All in all, she has a spectacular and effective playing style (so has Nina Mittelham), which we would like to see more of in the future.
In the cadets’ girls and boy’s division, two youngsters from Romania were crowned champions: Adina DIACONU and Rares SIPOS.
Adina Diaconu was able to push her level of play even more in the single’s competition, becoming the most successful player of the tournament. I think she is already quite developed in her passive play but has room for improvement in service-receive game and in her agressive shots. But she is on a good road to becoming a strong player such as her compatriots Daniela Dodean or Elizabetha Samara.
Talking about Romania: Impressive for sure was the performance of Rares SIPOS on the finals day. Fighting Artur ABUSEV (RUS), he had to overcome a defensive player who can control and switch the spin excellently on both wings. I am sure he will also advance further in his agressive shots.
I do believe we will hear a lot more of these names in the future. Some of them probably at the EYC next year, other will have to establish themselves at the adult level.
I am looking forward to this over the next months and who knows: Maybe we will see some players in the line-ups for their countries at the national level, maybe even the Olympics 2016 or 2020?
This is an interesting young generation coming up.
See you soon,
Looking forward to exciting semi-finals and finals tomorrow
In the semi final of the Cadet Boys we will enjoy 4 young players of whom most of us thought they could make it.
Rares SIPOS (ROU) will play against Nolan GIVONE (FRA), Irvin BERTRAND (FRA) against Artur ABUSEV (RUS).
As a little surprise, Bertrand defeated top seeded Cristian PLETEA from Romania.
Especially defense player Abusev from Russia earned attention although his offensive skills need to be optimized.
As far as the Cadet Girls are concerned, it is Adina DIACONU who draws most attention. I am really looking forward to watch her match against Maria TAYLAKOVA of Russia, while Izabela LUPULESKU of Serbia will fight against Lisa LUNG (BEL).
Mit Alexandre CASSIN (FRA), Elias RANEFUR /(SWE), Filip ZELJKO (CRO) und Anton KALLBERG (SWE) there are 4 boys playing the semi-finals and everybody would have estimated all of them to play until this stage. Cassin will meet Zeljko and Ranefur his compatriot Kallberg who proves to play on a high level, technically.
Finally we will mit with 2 players from Germany in the Semi Finals, Nina MITTELHAM and Chantal MANTZ. Mittelham will against Chasselin, Mantz against Ekaterina GUSEVA (RUS).
“What have China, Japan and also Germany in common?”
Today, Friday, there hasn’t been so much exciting news. The truly important matches will start tomorrow, and of course the finals on Sunday.
So, these days give me time to think outside the box. There is one thought hat’s been always on my mind:
“What do China, Japan and also Germany have in common? Why are they the leading table tennis nations?” It has not been like this ever since: Formerly also Sweden, Hungary or other nations would have to be listed here.
I think one important reason or at least impulse has always been the competition inside the own country that leads to an increased level regarding training and performance. Training groups with players from the same nation are pushing each other. They are their own competitors and idols at the same time. This is a situation we have support from cadets to seniors.
Looking forward very much to the Single events on Saturday and Sunday.
Breathe and re-think
Today’s thursday provided some much needed time to regenerate for the seeded players, before the tournament starts all over again
This gave me some time to think about the generation of cadets I had seen so far. France and Romania were in the finals, which was to be expected.
What I found interesting was the high level of play and good developments in technique these youngsters (born 2000) had demonstrated.
I do hope they continue to develop and work hard in the future. For sure, European youngsters are no less talented than their Asian counterparts. To find these
talents, develop and counsel them is our task for the future, the task of the coaches.
Team Finals: Results & Emotions
The 5th day of the competition brought about some final results in the team competitions.
Finals of the cadets (girls)
It was once again Romania’s Adina Diaconu securing the 3-1 victory of Romania. It was yet another successful day for the team in Riva del Gardo, making it the second nation (after France) to win a team competition title.
Match for the last ticket to the World Championships
The match Germany vs. Croatia (Cadet boys) was not about winning gold, but it was about qualifying for the Youth world championships in November / December. In the match, which ended 3-1 for croatia, all three victories went the full distance for the lucky team around Filip Zeljko. Disappointment was apparent on the faces of the german team, but they were also challenged to accept defeat and look forward, for the players and coaches alike – since the show (and also the tournament) must go on.
Watch the fantastic match between Dang Qiu (GER) and Filip Zeljko here:
France and Poland were facing off in the finals, an attractive match for sure, although not as exciting as the semi-finals had been and for sure not as exciting as the match for the last world championships ticket. Poland – pushed forward by its supporters – tried to play over the limit, but had to congratulate a stable French team in the end. The French won 3-0. Akkuzu and Cassin from the French team and Zatowka from Poland were players that caught my attention and I am looking forward to their performance in the singles division.
France vs. Romania was the title of the finals match in the boys cadet competition. The performance of Christian Pletea (ROU) and Nolan Givone (FRA) was more than outstanding. Both exhibited performances far above the average in their division. Pletea was more powerful, but Givone had the better footwork. And the latter became the player of the match, scoring a 3-2 for the French team.
Styles, Technique, Athletics
A few days ago I commented on players going for “Spin-Spin” Rallys with no need, literally fleeing from the table. I have to reiterate this in the second half of the tournament. Most of the time, this stems from an unstable Serve and Receive game and although most players are able to play the backhand flick, forehand push and short-short game in general are neglected. I also noticed players hitting the forehand topspin a little too late, focusing on spin rather than speed. This should be more balanced, I would like to see more fast attacks in the mix as well.
If we consider athletics, we have to note that European players are still somewhat behind compared to their asian counterparts. Stable body posture and musculature have become a standard in Men’s and Women’s matches, and should be a part of everyday training for the young as well.
With best regards from Italy,
Prelude to tomorrow’s fantastic finals day
“Now we the line-ups for the finals and the favourites did prevail.”
In the Cadet division, France is facing a potentially strong team from Romania.
In the Cadets Girls, Romania will be playing Russia, both are “well established” and were able to defeat Germany and Hungary in the semi-finals stage.
Germany’s Girls team is going to play France, while the French Boys will be facing Poland, who is lead by a fantastic Patrik Zatowka.
We are looking forward to tomorrow’s games, not only the finals! While Germany was defeated by France in the quarter finals (France was lead by the outstandingly talented Can Akkuzu and Alexandre Cassin), but still has a chance to qualify for the World Championships if the team wins agains Croatia.
I really love the athmosphere among the teams. Everybody is playing one hundred percent, fighting to the last point for their team. And we have seen especially the reserve players, who really support their team from the bench and motivating them to win even more. No matter if the match is for the finals or for a placement – fighting spirit in a team is always wonderful to see.
Good performance level – sometimes a little lacking in agressiveness
On the top level here, we see high class table tennis, but I am sometimes missing a determination to win, this little bit of agressiveness that can make a difference in a match, for example at the third-ball attack. Especially when the technique is quite good, there is no need for a player to deliberately seek this spin-spin game from the distance. This is more or less a result of passiveness in earlier stages of the rally.
I am looking forward to reporting on tomorrows finals, and see the first champions of this Tournament!