DIACONU and KALLBERG lead the elite in SochiPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
STAG European Under 21 Championships will be held in the city of Sochi, the capital of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Players will compete at modern Federal Center of Martial Arts, which was built in 2015.The participants from 35 countries will play at the first-ever European U21 Championships, which will be hosted from 2nd to 5th February of 2017.
The new European rankings issued last week, determined the seeding order. According the January’s rankings the top ranked players are Adina DIACONU of Romania and Anton KALLBERG of Sweden, both listed in Sochi.
Crowned junior singles champion at the European Youth Championships held last year in Zagreb, as well as winner of the Singles Event at the EYC held in 2015 in Bratislava and cadet singles champion in 2014 in Riva del Garda, DIACONU will travel to Sochi as a main contended to the crown. Earlier in December 2016 she set a milestone in her career by being the half of the first European partnership to win a Doubles title at a World Junior Championships. Adina and Andreea DRAGOMAN clinched the title at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships; previously Adina enriched her treasury with bronze medal in the Singles Event. Dragoman is no. 5 seed.
Nina MITTELHAM of Germany and her compatriot Chantal MANTZ, as well as Poland’s Natalia BAJOR are listed from position no. 2 to no. 4. The best ranked Russia’s player is Mariia TAILAKOVA ranked at position no. 12 this month at the European rankings.
The top seed in Men’s Singles Event, Swede Anton KALLBERG won gold medal at the Junior Boys` Singles Event at the 2015 European Youth Championships in Bratislava. He will face the challenge by the Croatia’s Tomislav PUCAR, France’s Can AKKUZU, Slovenia’s Darko JORGIC… The host nation main ace will be Sadi ISMAILOV currently ranked at the position no. 13 at the rankings. Russian national team will be also represented by the youngest player of the tournament 14-years old Vladimir Sidorenko and Konstantin CHERNOV. There are also 7 players in reserve waiting for their chance including Denis IVONIN.