Ahmadian first Iranian to feature in table tennis at Youth Olympic Games

March 26, 2018 - 13:26

Winner of the Junior Boys’ Singles title earlier in the week at the 2018 Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open; Iran’s Amin Ahmadian won the Men’s Singles title at the Road to Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games – Africa second qualification tournament on Sunday 25th March.

Impressively, he succeeded without ever being extended the full seven games distance.

He started his quest with victory over Switzerland’s Pedro Osiro (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 14-12), before accounting for Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco (11-7, 11-0, 11-5, 11-6) and Belgium’s in-form Laurens Devos (7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8) to reserve his place in the final. Notably, one round earlier Laurens Devos had ousted India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the top seed (11-7, 3-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8, 11-3, 4-11, 11-7).

A place in the final booked, Amin Ahmadian accounted for Singapore’s Pan Yen En Koen (4-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12), a young man for whom the heart bleeds; the previous day in the first knock-out event he had also reached the final, losing to Azerbaijan’s Yu Khinhang (12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-6).

“I am so happy that I achieved my goal in Tunisia; this was my main goal. I feel very happy that I have become the first Iranian to feature in the table tennis event at a Youth Olympic Games. It was indeed a hard road to earn the ticket. In the first day of the qualifiers, I lost in the quarter-final; I was tired after the Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open. On the second day, I was focused and determined to achieve my goal. All the matches were hard but I remained focused and I was determined to make it. I am so happy with my performance overall and I look forward to representing my country well in Argentina later in the year,” Ahmadian told ITTF.com.

In the opposite half of the draw, Pang Yew En Koen beat Slovakia’s Jakub Zelinka (11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 9-11, 11-3) before recording two most notable wins. He accounted for Austria’s Maciek Kololdziejczyk, the no.2 seed (11-7, 10-12, 16-14, 11-8, 11-8) followed by Canada’s Jeremy Hazin,the no.4 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2) to reserve his place in the final.

Alas for Pang Yew En Koen it was not to be but there more opportunities; four Road to Buenos Aires tournaments await.

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