The European Youth Championships in Bratislava are history. We took the opportunity to follow some youngsters with our camera during their tournament progress. Here are some impressions and opinions.

Video: Audrey ZARIF

We followed Audrey ZARIF from France on her way to Bronze in the Junior Girls Singles’ competition. She could only be stopped by her Butterfly coleague and new European Champion Adina DIACONU from Romania. Congratulations to your first medal, Audrey!

Video: Maria TAYLAKOVA

She not only became the new European Champion in the Cadet Girls Singles event, but with 4 medals the most successful female player of the tournament, too. Congratulations and thank you very much to accompany you with our video cam on your way to Gold, Maria!

Video: Alexandre CASSIN

The defending Champion and new European Champion in the Team’s event gave evidence of his extra class, once more. Even if he had to be content with winning “only” the silver medal in the Singles event. Congratulations, great job!

Video: Jannik XU

Enjoy Butterfly top talent Jannik XU (GER) on his way to the final in the Cadets Singles event. Congratulation to the silver medal, Jannik – great job!

“I would never have expected to join the final. Therefore I am really happy about my silver medal.”

“My mother was actively playing table tennis. So, when I was young I accompanied her to her training and at about 7 I started playing table tennis myself.”

Video: Adina DIACONU

With 10 gold medals as well as our respect and congratulations, Adina DIACONU reached the 3rd place in All Time European Youth Champion’s ranking. Nothing more to say … 🙂 Enjoy our short video portrait and her awesome performance in Bratislava.

Video: Anton KÄLLBERG

Anton KÄLLBERG really did a great job and went for Gold in the Junior’s Singeles Event. Even his Butterfly colleague and last year’s champion Alexandre Cassin (FRA), to whom he lost in the final of the Team’s event, could not beat him in the final of the Singles event. Apart from that, congratulation to both of you.


Review: Richard Prause

The Team Competition

″The french team has beeen dominating the team events with its male youngsters for quite some time now. The team around Alexandre Cassin are especially versed in the serve-receive game – and are ahead of their competition in that regard.

France also excels in not only producing one good player, but rather a few top players who are able to score even in semi or final situations – such as Akkuzu and Cassin.

Alexandre Cassin by Remy Gros

Alexandre Cassin by Remy Gros

Other nations face the difficult task of putting one top player in the lineup, who can get under the considerable pressure of having to win constantly, much like Anton Källberg from Sweden or Darko Jorgic from Slovenia.

It was nice to see that some nations rallied behind France that were not on the list of favorites before the competition: Italia, Modavia or Slovenia. Even Germany had a tough time winning their matches. They were without medals in the team competition in Bratislava and will have to try again next time.



As far as performance in the Girl’s competition goes, I really liked to see Adina Diaconu of Romania. I noticed her last year already, and she has improved considerably since then. She had to advance really, because the difference between junors and senior level is nothing but huge. A lot of work and talent is required to keep the level and even increase it.

I noticed in particular how one-sided most players still are. Either it is the technique, or serve and receive game – but most of the time it is the athletics that are lacking in these youngsters. European players will have to continue working hard in order to close the gap to asia in that regard.

France, Romania and Russia were the medal holders, some fulfilled their potential, others didn’t.

This was a great warm-up to the individual competition..

The Singles’ Competition

Maria Taylakova

Maria Taylakova

Adina Diaconu, Anton Källberg, Christian Pletea and Maria Taylakova carry the medals and hopes of Europe, everyone of these players has achieved what they most fought for. It is crucial that all of them keep working hard to keep up once they reach the senior level.

Anton Källberg

Anton Källberg

Players like Anton Källberg and Alexandre Cassin, who lost surprisingly in the finals, are already on a very solid level.

Especially Källberg has already beaten Top 100 players in the world. He and Adina Diaconu carry a lot of potential for the future.

Also interesting to observe how many different styles have won medals in Bratislava – in the boys’ and girls’ competition. Andre Leveko with his enormous control on both wings, Patrick Zatowka with good eye and tactical prowess, Källberg with his serve and strong first attack – only to name a few of the Boys. Adina Diaconu with agressive play close to the table – old school romanian style – like we saw agains Marie Migot, who on her end relies more on versatile topspin play, like we can see below:

And also the Junior Boy’s final is worth to have a look at once more:

Yannik Xu mit Yuan Wan und Jennie Wolf

Yannik Xu mit Yuan Wan und Jennie Wolf

We aim to further this versatility in players, as it is coupled with ambtion and discipline and makes for a major building block of a successful table tennis player.

Let’s have a look at the Cadets – our stars in the near future

Christian Pletea is a name we have certainly heard before in junior events. His opponent, Germany’s Yannik Xu has more than made up for his loss in the Team’s division by reaching the finals of the Singles.

Yannik Xu, sein Finalgegner, hat sich mit dem Erreichen des Finals  für die verlorene Mannschaftsmedallie entschädigt.

Maria Taylakova

Maria Taylakova

Maria Talyakowa has put Russia on the map alongside France and Romania and demonstrated that these countries harbour interesting talents.

I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to everyone to acquire new young players for our sport and equipping them early with the major weapons to compete: Athletics, technical finesse and tactical overview. Only then will we be able to close the gap to the leading asian players.

Richard Prause

Richard Prause

Once again it was my pleasure to report from this event. Starting tomorrow, I will be back at WSA and preparing for future task with the German association.

See you soon,




About The Author


He started playing table tennis at age 12, never letting go. He first became german national player, then switched over to high-level coaching. From 2000 to 2004 he was German national coach of the Womens’ team, then, from 2004 to 2010 coaching the Mens’ National Team. In that he was largely responsible for the success of Timo Boll and his team. In 2010 he started working for the renowned Werner Schlager Academy in Austria as Head coach and table tennis expert for the ITTF. He has been part of the Butterfly Family for many years and is looking forward to further improve the table tennis sport.

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