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Double Gold for Colin Judge in Poland

Colin Judge emerged the winner in the Men’s Singles (Class 3). The no.4 seed, in the final he beat Korea Republic’s Kim Jinsung (11-9, 11-8, 17-15), having in the penultimate round ousted Poland’s Maciej Nalepka, the top seed (12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9).

In the Men’s Team (Class 3) event, Colin Judge alongside the French pairing of Alexandre Delarque and Nicolas Savant-Aira emerged with victory. These three players were the most successful male players on duty at the 2020 ITTF Para Polish Open in Wladyslawowo. This second title gained by Colin Judge was not to be expected. 

Next up for Colin is the Costa Brava Para Open which is taking place next week. 

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Owen Cathcart Wins Swedish Junior Open

Owen defeated top French player Dorian Zheng 4-2 (11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9) in the Final, a tremendous result over the top seed, and a top 10 European Junior who had won all of their previous encounters.

The top Ormeau TTC Junior, now playing full-time in Sweden, was in fine form throughout the event, only dropping one set in the knockout stages.  That was in the semi-finals when he beat 5th seed Angel Naranjo (Puerto Rico) 4-1 (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3).  Naranjo had earlier defeated Owen’s teammate and doubles partner Borgar Haug 4-2.

Owen won 4-0 against Suresh Raj (India) in the last 16, and again 4-0 against Tsyhanouski (Belarus), showing the impressive form that was to come in the semis and the final.

However there was disappointment for Owen in the doubles with Borgar Haug when they lost out in the quarter final to Simonsen and Skarsholm (Denmark) in a close encounter 11-13, 11-6, 8-11, 10-12, just one step away from another medal.

See ITTF article on Owen’s great win here: https://www.ittf.com/2020/02/21/owen-cathcart-prithika-pavade-win-orebro/

(Owen Final starts at 3 hours 4 minutes)
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Medals Success for Sophie at Czech Junior & Cadet Open

Partnered by Welsh player Anna Hursey, Sophie reached the final of the Girls Junior Doubles losing to Russian players and winning a Silver Medal. In the Cadet Girls Team event, again partnered by Anna plus a Portuguese player, Sophie won a bronze medal after losing in the Semi Finals to the winning Russian team in a close match.

The Cadet Girls Doubles brought further success for Sophie.  She reached the Semi finals again partnered by Welsh player Anna Hursey losing in straight sets to Chinese TPE pair, LIAO and LIN.  Another Bronze medal!

Sophie’s last event of her trip was the Cadet Girls Singles where she reached the quarter finals losing to Chinese TPE player LIAO Ting – Yao 3/2 in a high quality match.

With a medal total of 1 Silver and 2 Bronze it was a successful trip!

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World Championship of Ping Pong

The World Championship of Ping Pong, also known as WCPP, is an annual ping pong event  promoted by English sports impresario Barry Hearn, using old-fashioned wooden racquets covered with sandpaper, instead of the high tech rubber of  modern table tennis. This results in longer and more entertaining rallies.

The hugely popular event featured 4 Irish players:  Paul McCreery, Gavin Maguire, Zak Wilson and young Jonny Mooney (currently ranked Irish joint No 2 Cadet).

From the start, Paul McCreery  was in simply outstanding form and delighted his Irish and PWC fans with two 2-0 victories over Mlynarski (Poland) and Milchin (Germany) to reach the last 32 draw and the knockout stages.  There he met the highly rated Russian Dmitrij Bobrov, and defeated him 2-1, with the TV cameras switching from the TV table to cover the final points of the match.  Paul won 15-12, 4-15, 15-13, which led to the “pitch invasion” by his fans!  Last 16 accomplished!

Paul then faced seasoned Ping Pong campaigner Martin Groenewold (Netherlands), who came with strong Dutch support.  Paul produced a great display which featured what the TV commentators called the “rally of the tournament”, winning 15-6, 15-11. Quarter final place accomplished! 

It was then all eyes on the match between Gavin Rumgay (Scotland) and Benjamin Sorensen (Denmark) to see who Paul would face for a place in the semi-finals!   Gavin Rumgay pulled everything out to take this match 15-14 in the decider. 

Paul may have wished for the Danish opponent, having been training with Gavin Rumgay leading up to these Championships.  The match went in Rumgay’s favour, in a nerve-wracking match 2-1.   Well done to Paul in achieving his first quarter-final, and the feeling is that there is more to come…

Gavin Maguire was very unfortunate not to make the last 32, losing to Peejay Atienza (PHI) 15-14 in the decider, and taking a win over Italian player, Gallina.  He then faced Martin Groenewold (Netherlands) losing again by the narrowest of margins 15-14 in 3rd.

Zak Wilson lost 2-0 to Bobrov (Russia) and 2-1 to Maybanks (Hungary) in his group and was eliminated.   14 year old Jonny Mooney drew the attention of the TV cameras, but was also eliminated, losing to Chris Doran (England) and England’s top Junior, Ethan Walsh.

In the Semis, Alex Flemming (Germany) defeated Gavin Rumgay 15-4, 15-9, while Champion Andrew Baggaley (3 times winner) advanced to the Final with a win over Liang Xue (China).

The stage was set for what was to become the greatest WCPP Final ever, with Baggaley winning the event (for the 4th time!)  14-15, 15-8, 14-15, 15-8, 15-14. With some rallies exceeding 40 strokes, the players fought to the end, with nothing between them, as the scoreline shows!

Roll on next year!

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Sophie Earley’s outstanding results in Czech Junior & Cadet Open

We have just become aware that Sophie Earley and her Welsh partner, Anna Hursey, have reached the final of the Junior Girls Doubles at the Czech Junior & Cadet Open. Playing out of her age category, Sophie and partner have beaten a Slovak pair in the last 64, a Hungarian Pair in the last 32, a Spanish pair in the last 16. In the last 8, they were successful versus the No. 4 seeds, a Swedish/Romanian duo to reach the semi final where they beat the top Russian pairing 3/2 to proceed to the final.

Good luck to Sophie & Anna in tonight’s final at 7.30pm. Live streaming of the tournament this afternoon is available on the link below:

After the final tonight, Sophie has the Cadet Girls Team event to look forward to tomoorrow followed by the Cadet Girls Singles on Saturday.

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Sophie Earley climbs the World Rankings!

The latest ITTF World Rankings were released yesterday. We are delighted to announce that Sophie Earley, Ormeau TTC, is currently ranked 21st in the U15 Women’s World Rankings and is placed 7th on the list of European players. We would like to congratulate Sophie and her club Ormeau on this fantastic achievement.

Further information on ITTF World Rankings are available on the link below:

https://www.ittf.com/rankings/

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Junior Boys report from European Youth Championships

The Irish Junior Boys team of Owen Cathcart (Halmstad), Art McLaughlin (Dublin) & Alan Pattison (Dublin) were drawn in a tough group that included Bosnia & Herzegovina, Latvia, Division top seeds Portugal, and Scotland.

First up on Day 1 was Scotland, with the Irish boys putting in a solid performance to take the 3-0 win, however, later that evening against Portugal, the team didn’t fire, going down on a 1-3 scoreline, and facing down the barrel of entering playoffs, from which their highest possible finishing position would be 29th.  Determined to alleviate the pressure, the team came out blazing on the morning of Day 2, with wins over Latvia, 3-0, and Bosnia & Herzegovina, 3-1, moving the boys into second place in the table and the chance to play for promotion to the top Division.

Day 4 saw the start of the second stage of the Championships, with Ireland drawn against Belarus and Greece, and, with probably their finest sustained passage of play, both teams were accounted for on 3-1 scorelines, with Ireland topping their 2nd group and reaching the promotion playoff places. Playing off for positions 17-20, the team was unable to sustain the level from the second group stage, going down against Turkey (0-3) and Romania (2-3). 

A little disappointed with their last days play, the Junior Boys nonetheless finished in 20th place out of 44 teams, a huge improvement on the last two outings for Junior Boys at the Europeans, up 8 places on 2016 (28th) and up 14 places on 2015 (34th), and was especially impressive given their lower original seeding position due to not entering Junior Boys in 2018 or 2017. This puts the team in a strong position to earn promotion in 2020, and is the highest finish by an Irish Junior Boys team in many years. Owen Cathcart and Art McLaughlin were selected to stay on for the individual events, and neither player disappointed with their performances.

In the doubles, McLaughlin was teamed up with Scot Danny Bajwa, however their nascent partnership didn’t click easily enough to avoid a Round 1 defeat against Austria.  Meanwhile, Cathcart had renewed his established doubles pairing with Borgar Haug of Norway, and this accomplished team won their way through three rounds, with wins over a Czech/Slovak combination, Hungary, and Denmark, before going out in the Quarter Finals, on a 1-3 scoreline, against 2nd Seeds France.  Coming within one match of a European medal is a huge achievement for Cathcart, and is just reward for all the work and commitment being put in, both by him and by his new Club in Halmstad.

In the singles, Cathcart had a bye to the Round of 128, where he was drawn against Greek Zisas Doukeris, who had earlier played against Ireland in the team event, a match won 3-0 by Cathcart; and another professional performance against Doukeris, this time a 4-0 victory, set up a Last 64 against 6th Seed Lilian Bardet of France, with Cathcart never really hitting the high standards of which he is capable, going out 0-4 to the French player.

McLaughlin was drawn against Matei Dumitrescu of Romania in the Round of 256, winning through 4-2.  In the Round of 128, McLaughlin faced once again Daniel Kogans from Latvia, and, as with their tie in the team event, this match hung in the balance until the very end, with McLaughlin only taking the lead for the first time early in the 7th set, going on to take the match 4-3.  The reward for reaching the Last 64 was a meeting with the 9th Seed, Belgian Olav Kosolosky, McLaughlin going down 1-4 in a hard fought encounter.