by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Runner up earlier in the year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in Thailand, India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar climbed one step higher on Sunday 24th September in the city of Otocec.

Not only did he win the Junior Boys’ Singles title, he completed the five day tournament as the most successful player.

Manav Vikash Thakkar, the Junior Boys’ Singles winner. Photo by Danilo Kesic

Three days earlier, lining up alongside Jeet Chandra and Manush Utpalbhai Shah, he had been a silver medallist in the Junior Boys’ Team event; meanwhile, earlier on the concluding day of play he had won the Junior Boys’ Doubles title.

Partnering Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.2 seeds, the duo accounted for the top seeded Chinese Taipei combination of Feng Yi-Hsin and Tai Ming-Wei, the top seeds and the winners the previous week at the 2017 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open.

Impressively, Manush Utpalbhai Shah and Manav Vikash Thakkar emerged successful in three straight games (11-7, 11-6, 17-15).

The second seed in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event, it was also the lot of Manav Vikash Thakkar in the Junior Boys’ Singles competition.

Safely through to the quarter-final round, the 17 year old Indian accounted for Tai Ming-Wei, the no.6 seed (11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11), before overcoming Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz, the no.9 seed (11-4, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9) and Japan’s Takeru Kashiwa, the no.15 seed (11-6, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6).

A semi-final place against the odds for Youssef Abdel-Aziz and for Takeru Kashiwa; Youssef Abdel-Aziz had very much benefitted from the efforts of Jeet Chandra and Chinese Taipei’s Kao Min-Chi, whilst Takeru Kashiwa was somewhat thankful to India’s Parth Virmani.

In round two Kao Min-Chi had beaten Japan’s Aoto Asazu, the no.3 seed (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9), before losing to India’s Jeet Chandra (10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4), a player who in turn experienced a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Youssef Abdel-Aziz (13-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-3).

Somewhat similarly, Argentina’s Francisco Sanchi, the no.4 seed, had experienced a third round defeat at the hands of India’s Parth Virmani (10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-6). Pertinently, one round later at the quarter-final stage, Parth Viramani was beaten by Takeru Kashiwa (11-9, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5), who on his next visit to the table caused one of the biggest upsets of the concluding day; he beat Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin, the top seed (11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 3-11, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9).

A hard earned place in the final, there was to be no fairy tale ending; Manav Vikash Thakkar held the aces, the title belonged to India.