Gondomar hosts rising stars: LEVENKO tops seeding listPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
2019 BUTTERFLY European U21 Championships, Gondomar, Portugal, 7-10 March – Men’s Singles Preview
Portugal city of Gondomar - European City of Sports in 2017 - already established itself as the excellent host of one huge table tennis event, like it was during the 2016 European Top 16 Cup (Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and SHEN Yanfei won gold), while now it will see the 2019 BUTTERFLY European U21 Championships to be held on March 7-10th.
Regarding Men’s Singles Seeding List, 53 players in total will compete in at the place where Portugal’s national champions have been crowned last weekend. Top 8 seeded players will go directly to Stage 2 and they are following: 1 Andreas LEVENKO (AUT), 2 Darko JORGIC (SLO), 3 Cristian PLETEA (ROU), 4 Rares SIPOS (ROU), 5 Aliaksandr KHANIN (BLR), 6 Tobias HIPPLER (GER), 7 Florian CNUDDE (BEL) and 8 Jiri MARTINKO (CZE).
The 2016 European Youth Championships Junior Boy runner-up Andreas LEVENKO of Austria tops seeding list, followed by three who finished at the podium of 2018 BELGOSSTRAKH European Under 21 CH in Minsk, Belarus, the runner-up Cristian PLETEA (2015 EYCH Cadet gold, 2017 EYCH Junior silver) and bronze medallists Darko JORGIC (repeated his success from the inaugural 2017 STAG European U21 Championships, Sochi, Russia) and Rares SIPOS.
Defending U21 European Men’ Singles champion, Tomas POLANSKY of Czech Republic commences the upcoming championships as no. 25 seed. In dramatic closure of the 2018 BELGOSSTRAKH European Under 21 Championships he overcame Cristian PLETEA of Romania after full seven games 4:3 (11:6, 5:11, 12:10, 11:5, 5:11, 7:11, 12:10) to clinch the title in the final of the Men’s Singles Event. In the semi-final encounters, PLETEA was extended to full distance by Slovenia’s Darko JORGIC, while POLANSKY defeated Rares SIPOS of Romania in five games.
Two years ago, at the inaugural 2017 STAG European U21 Championships, Sochi, Russia, Tomislav PUCAR of Croatia was crowned champion, as he beat Germany’s QIU Dang 4:1 (11:6, 11:2, 9:11, 14:12, 11:9). Semi-finalists were Slovenia’s Darko JORGIC and Deni KOZUL.
Beside Top 8 players at the seeding list of the 2019 BUTTERFLY European U21 Championships, there are some familiar names from the podiums of the European Youth Championships, like Vladimir SIDORENKO (RUS, no. 12 seed), twice in a row EYCH Cadet Boy gold medallist (2016 and 2017), Maciej KUBIK (POL, no. 32), the 2018 Cadet Boy EYCH winner, Ioannis SGOUROPOULOS (GRE, no. 33) actual European Junior champion, who won his first out of two titles in Portugal (2017 EYCH Guimaraes)…