178 youth players from 21 countries will embark on their table tennis journeys when they compete at the inaugural WTT Youth Series event to be held in Vila Real, Portugal this week.
These young and promising talents aim to set the foundation of a career pyramid where the pinnacle of success is the prestigious world’s number one crown. Having graduated from playing in their own backyards to the competitive courts in all four corners of the globe, these youth players’ new chapters begin at WTT Youth Series, where world ranking points will be on offer.
They will also have the opportunity to earn senior rankings points at WTT Youth Series events with points earned in the U19 competition to be included in their ITTF Table Tennis Ranking.
Divided into two tiers, WTT Star Youth Contender and WTT Youth Contender, the WTT Youth Series that debuts in Portugal will provide youth players with the opportunity to transition into professional careers.
With more inter-generational competition across the various age categories, there are also opportunities for talented and fast-improving players to pit themselves against slightly older opponents.
Four of the top 20 boys in the U19 Boys’ singles ITTF Table Tennis Youth Ranking- Hungary’s Andras Csaba (12), Croatia’s Ban Ivor (13), Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse (15) and Germany’s Kay Stumper (17) have confirmed their entries while Puerto Rico’s Angel Naranjo, who is ranked third in the U17 Boys’ singles has also committed to the event which will take place from May 11-17.
Romania’s Iulian Chirita and Wales’ Anna Hursey who are ranked fourth in the U15 Boys and Girls’ singles respectively will feature in the U15 category. The local hopes will rest on the shoulders of Tiago Abiodum who is seeded second in U13 boys’ category while Matilde Pinto and Ines Matos are seeded seventh and eighth respectively in the U17 girls’ category.
Korea Republic’s Shin Yubin has already given the world a glimpse of what the next generation of table tennis stars can do when she went all the way to the quarter-final stage at the WTT Contender Series in Doha in March.
Following the WTT Youth Contender Vila Real, the WTT Youth Series will head to Tunisia for the WTT Youth Star Contender Tunis where USD17,000 in prize money will be on offer. It is scheduled to be played at the Salle Omnisport de Radès from May 26-30.