European Youth Championships

From level two to medal rostrum – Romania's story of success

Quarterfinal of the Under 19 Boys Event at the GAZPROM European Youth Championships in Varazdin brought fierce fight, close matches and big upsets. Spain, France, Poland and Romania booked their places in the penultimate stage of the Event and secured their place at the medal rostrum.

The Romania trio comprising Eduard IONESCU, Darius MOVILEANU and Andrei Teodor ISTRATE, upset the odds. Commencing play in level two, they recorded a 3:1 win over Italy to reach the semi final. John OYEBODE gave Italy a good start with the victory over IONESCU, but on his two exits to the table Darius MOVILEANU stayed unbeaten. He overcame Andrea PUPPO and OYEBODE. Third point came from Andrei Teodor ISTRATE.

“We proved the miracles are possible. Italy has very experienced players and we had to give our best. We proved we can do it and reached the medal rostrum,” said MOVILEANU, who won the gold medal in the Cadet Boys Singles Event in Ostrava.

Spain won the medal last time in the Junior Boys event in 1995 when Alfreado CARNEROS was in the team as a player. Today he led a Spanish team to the semis as a coach. Marc GUTIERREZ, Juan PEREZ and Miguel NUNEZ inflicted the pain in the heart of the host nation supporters and won five matches thriller against Borna PETEK, Ivor BAN and Lovro ZOVKO. PEREZ played the decisive match of the duel.

“It was difficult start; our first player lost to PETEK and I had a very close duel against Ivor BAN. I won it thanks to enormous support I got from my teammates and NUNEZ was absolutely superb in the match against ZOVKO. In the last match, at 2:2 I felt great pressure. It was first time that I had to play such a big match. It is the biggest and most important win in my career,” said PEREZ.

France overcame Sweden in straight matches. Alexis LEBRUN, Thibault PORET and Alexis KOURAICHI dominated in two opening matches but in the last Daniel LINDSO managed to stretch KOURAICHI to full distance.

“I lost the opening game, because I did not play well. I had to change tactics, I started to use my forehand which is my strongest weapon and it paid off,” said KOURAICHI.

Poland's Maciej KUBIK, Samuel KULCZYCKI and Milosz REDZIMSKI overcame Germany's Kay STUMPER Hannes HOERMANN and Daniel RINDERER 3:0.

“In the opening match KUBIK recovered from 0:2 in reverse and I also lost the opening game. It was very difficult match, but we keep on fighting, and we will not stop,” said Samuel KULCZYCKI.