One for the future: Tin-Tin Ho follows Parker and Drinkhall in victory in Portugal

Tin-Tin Ho became only the third English player to return triumphant from the Portuguese Youth Open after winning the Cadet Girls’ singles competition in Tavira.

She joins Joanna Parker (2003 Junior Girls’ Champion) and Paul Drinkhall (2004 Cadet Boys’ Champion) on a prestigious list of victors including previous winners such as Tiago Apolonia, Bernadette Szocs and Dmitrij Ovtcharov.

It was the 19th edition of the Portuguese Youth Open and England had sent 10 players to compete in both the singles and team competitions.

With the teams’ results proving fruitless (all four sides finished between eighth and 12th) it was down to the singles competitions to see if any of the young English starlets could produce a big performance.

It proved to be the case with Tin-Tin Ho winning all six of her matches to take the title over favourite Yuan Wan from Germany in a pulsating day of entertainment.

Tin-Tin progressed through her group with relative comfort – only dropping one game, before almost stumbling in the second round to Arina-Dora Singeorzan from Romania (who she lost to in the team matches) but eventually she held on for a narrow 3-2 win.

Her steady progress continued into the quarter-finals and semi-finals where she beat Swede Tilda Johansson 3-1 before cruising past Jennie Wolf from Germany 3-0 to reach the final.

In the final she met Wolf’s teammate Wan who was the number one seed but Tin-Tin showed no break in her form and coasted the title with a confident 3-1 (11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7) win.

National Junior Coach Nick Jarvis said: “Tin-Tin started off in the team event a little bit slowly but as the tournament went on she started taking the ball at the top of the bounce and attacking more.

With her talent she’s a dangerous player against anyone – she’s at a standard where she can beat anyone in Europe.”

He added: “She played the best table tennis in the important points. At key times in the matches she came out with her best table tennis and when she had to win the point to keep the pressure off she was a star.”

Tin-Tin was not the only one to catch Jarvis’ eye as all the other young players also showed improvement in their style of play. He said: “Overall we looked competitive against all the different countries. We lost a lot of close matches, which 12 months ago we were losing easily.

The type of game we are playing suggests that the more we practice, the better we will get. All the squad are playing the right way and believing in themselves, which we are doing a lot more.”

He added: “Some of the players were inexperienced compared to their competitors in Europe but in general we are treading the right road and we just need that domination on the table.”

Jarvis also held particular praise for both Lewis Gray and Helshan Weerasinghe who had good tournaments before both were defeated in their respective quarter-finals.

Jarvis beamed: “Lewis was playing his best table tennis… ever probably. Playing the right game and showing he’s competitive at this standard. Helshan had a chance of winning the tournament, he was playing that well, but mentally he didn’t have the experience.

He did play very, very well and looked a top performer – I was hoping he would win the tournament. He’s improved so much that he’s at the calibre of beating these players and winning tournaments. It’s good for his experience.”

For the full selection of English results click the links below, or click on the links provided by the ITTF for a full summary of results from all nations involved.

By Russell Moore

Cadet Girls’ Teams

Cadet Boys’ Teams

Junior Girls’ Teams

Junior Boys’ Teams

Cadet Girls’ Singles

Cadet Boys’ Singles

Junior Girls’ Singles

Junior Boys’ Singles

Full Tournament Team Results (ITTF)

Full Tournament Singles Results (ITTF)