Helshan Weerasinghe on the top step of the podium in Funchal

Helshan Weerasinghe justified his billing as top seed to win the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the Funchal Junior and Cadet Open in Madeira.

It was the 17-year-old’s first title on the ITTF Junior Circuit and it was fully deserved as he went through the tournament unbeaten.

He also had to see off local talent in the final two games, first overcoming No 6 seed Jose Pedro Francisco 4-0 (11-9, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6) in the semi-finals.

That put him through to face No 13 seed and islander Joao Reis, and despite the home crowd rooting for their local boy, the result was equally emphatic as the Kent teenager again won 4-0 (12-10, 11-4, 11-4, 11-8).

“It’s a pretty good feeling, my first victory on the tour,” said Weerasinghe. “Even though the competition wasn’t as strong as previous years, it was still an important one to win. All the players were at a decent level, so it was still a challenge.

“I knew that going in I would be the favourite and the top seed, but what I did was just keep my focus and prepared myself for every match. I knew I had to keep up my level.”

Helshan’s next challenge is the Croatian Open, which begins on September 17.

Paul Stimpson
September 8, 2014