commitment . determination . success

Manama, Bahrain - November 19, 2012

Possibly the most successful Canadian team at an ITTF Junior Circuit of five players and two coaches are returning to Canada with some level of satisfaction, and well aware of the work ahead.

Two Medals for the Junior Girls Team

"Our last international junior tournament abroad was in May 2011," Women's Team Coach Junya Chen analyzed, "at that time we had a good win against Russia; this time the girls performed at a higher level: In Hungary, we won against the Czech team, a country known for producing strong women's teams and we played very close in some matches with the Romanians, possibly the strongest team coming out of Europe." 

"In the last match in the semis of the Junior Girls Doubles in Bahrein," Chen continues, "we (the team of Anqi Luo and Michelle Liaw) gave the Romanians a fight they won't soon forget. In a see-saw battle, the Romanian team of Bernadette Szocs and Irina Ciobanu prevailed - but we are looking forward to a rematch."

The Canadian Junior Girls team conquered two Bronze medals in Bahrein - both Anqi Luo and Michelle Liaw will be eligible for another two years in the Junior age category.

Four Medals for the Junior Boys Team

Hongtao Chen was the backbone of the Canadian Junior Boys success in Bahrein. In the team event, he led the Canadian team to the finals where it took the combined forces of Singapore and Hong Kong to defeat the Canadians - Chen, remaining unbeaten during the team competition, was responsible for the two Canadian points in the 2-3 loss.

In the Junior Singles competition, Chen cruised through the early rounds but lost to Singapore's Clarence Zhe Yu Chew, a strong lefty attacker. Chen seemed to have trouble with left hand attackers, taking into account that his losses on this Hungary/Bahrein Junior Tour came exclusively from left-handed players.

Silver again for the Canadian pair of Hongtao Chen and James Pintea in the Boys Doubles competition. In the same event  Mathieu Theriault with his partner from Hong Kong, Li Hon Ming, upset the seeding order, defeating the top Chinese Taipei team of Liao Cheng-Ting and Lai Chi-Chien - a first medal for Mathieu Theriault at an international Junior Circuit competition.

While not unhappy with the overall results of the tour, Men's Coach Yongjun Duan analyzed the results in a realistic manner: "We can see that we are in the mix with the best European countries and close to some of the Asian powerhouses. We have to remember that all our players on this tour will still be juniors next year, and the girls even the year after. To get to the high international senior level with our players, we simply must compete more internationally - once every year is just not enough."

Despite the few competitions abroad both Anqi Luo and Hongtao Chen have qualified for the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals in Guatemala City in January of 2013 - they will find themselves is elite company - the finals are limited to 16 players - competing against some of the world's best in their age category.