Serbia and Slovenia Junior and Cadet Open 2019
On the two consecutive weeks 24-28 September and 2-6 October 2019, three London Academy players took on the international scene: gaining experience and first-time podium finishes is what make these two weeks a highlight.
Octavian Aparaschivei, representing Romania, and Sajad Ali, representing England, took part in the Serbia Junior and Cadet Open which was hosted in Zrenjanin in September: for both players, this was their first international competition in Europe and they were able to get a taste of the top-level competitive environment. Aparaschivei and Ali played alongside each other in the Cadet Boys’ Doubles and Team events, where they have displayed great team work and encouragement.
The following week came with an impressive feat from Patricia Ianau in the Slovenia Junior and Cadet Open: after sixteen months of recovering from injury, she came back stronger than ever- securing her first ITTF titles!
Those titles were in the Junior Girls’ Team and the Junior Girls’ Doubles events; Ianau, along with Betz Ramona (Finland) and Arlia Nicole (Italy), won a bronze medal in the team event and paired with Hristova Kalina (Bulgaria) to win a silver medal in the doubles event.
In the quarter-final of the Junior Girls’ Doubles event, the ROU-BUL alliance swept past a pair from Brazil, with Ianau polishing the 3-0 victory with a falling inside-out forehand shot down-the-line to take the last game 11-6!
If you thought that was action-packed, sorry to let you down because in the semi-final Ianau showed everyone who dominates the dramatic-style victory by down-the-line, inside-out forehand-finishing her pair’s way to the final at 16-15 in the 5th set! (Let’s not leave out that the pair were 0-2 down in sets and 8-10 down in the 5th set- comeback mode was evidently on full-blast)
Overall, Serbia and Slovenia brought the London Academy players thrilling stories and constructive experiences which will definitely help to build them to be stronger, smarter and wiser for the new competition season. Congratulations to all three players and we hope to see more titles along the way!