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What should have been a straightforward contest on paper became a bit of a nightmare for the New Zealand junior men’s team at the 2012 New Zealand Junior and Cadet Open on the ITTF Global Junior Circuit in Auckland.
Sporting two New Zealand senior men’s team members, Kevin Wu and Roger Rao the home team was expected to defeat the combined team of Thai, Max Poungsri and Kiwi Bryn Lindsay. However Poungsri who will be the third seed in the singles event over the weekend proved too strong helping his combined team to a 3-1 victory over Wu and Rao who recently played in the New Zealand men’s team at the World Championships in Dortmund, Germany.
Poungsri, 17 defeated men’s singles second seed, Wu, 17 in five games and Rao, 15 in four games while combining with Lindsay to take the doubles as well, this time in straight games. Earlier Lindsay had been defeated in his singles by Wu in four games.
The New Zealand team still progresses to the semifinals on Friday, but will have to play Australia A who had a scare against singles top seed Clarence Chew(Singapore) who won both of his matches against Australia’s best, but couldn’t quite combine for a doubles win with Rob Dorovolomo of the Solomon’s as the combined side lost 2-3.
The Singapore/Solomon Island team didn’t quite make the semifinals on total points having been beaten 2-3 in a contest against New Zealand B who now take on Thailand/New Zealand for a place in the final.
In the girls round robin, Australia A and New Zealand are the top two sides while the same can be said for the Cadet teams (under 15’s) competitions as well.
The New Zealand Junior and Cadet Open is the Oceania leg of the ITTF Global Junior Circuit where under 18’s players earn points with the opportunity to qualify for the prestigious Global Junior Circuit Finals at the end of the year. Nations competing include Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand and Pacific Island countries.
There will be plenty of experience for Rao, Wu and other Kiwis to call on with Olympic hopeful and former Commonwealth Games medallist, Li Chunli as one of New Zealand coaches on site.
Play continues through Thursday into the evening with teams events followed by more teams competition on Friday including the finals from 6.30pm. Saturday features boys and girls singles from 9am with Sunday starting from 9am until the semifinals and finals from 2.30 until around 7.30.