Three Titles For Croatian
Photo by: Raul Calin
Raul Calin, Ian Marshall
Croatiaâ€™s Sanja PAUKOVIC proved to be the most successful player on duty at the ITTF World Junior Circuit event in Morocco (24th-29th March 2005); she won the Junior Girlsâ€™ Team event and the Junior Girlsâ€™ Doubles with her compatriot Suncica VUGRINEC and completed the tournament unbeaten by overcoming the latter to capture the Junior Girlsâ€™ Singles title.
The Croatian was naturally delighted with her success and was clearly determined from the onset to book a place in the World Junior Circuit Finals in Santo Domingo later in the year.
Sanja PAUKOVIC, winner of three titles in Morocco
â€œThe World Junior Circuit event in Ã–rebro, Sweden was a stronger tournament, there were many European players there and the competition was really hardâ€?, said PAUKOVIC. â€œHere I had a good chance to gain points on the ITTF World Junior Circuit and this was important for me in order to try to qualify for the Grand Finals; also I intend to play in Spain and Poland and I hope to play well to be in Santo Domingoâ€?.
PAUKOVIC and VUGRINEC beat Brazilâ€™s Mariany NONAKA and Jordanâ€™s Zeina SHABAN in the Junior Girlsâ€™ Doubles final but having to face each other in the singles final must have been a difficult experience. â€œIt was a mental contest, we know each other very well, we are very good friendsâ€?, said PAUKOVIC. â€œWe have played doubles together for two years, we practise with each other and we are good friends.â€?
Meanwhile, Germanyâ€™s Patrick BAUM captured the Junior Boysâ€™ Singles title beating colleague Alexander KRIEGER in the final whilst in the Junior Boysâ€™ Doubles event, victory went to the Russians Stanislav GOLAVANOV and Kirill SKACHIKOV; the duo overcoming the Croatians Tomislav KOLAREK and Domagoj MAGLIC at the final hurdle.
It was for BAUM his second title of the tournament; earlier in the proceedings he had won the Junior Boysâ€™ Team event with Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and was understandably pleased to have won a further title. â€œI felt very good here in Casablancaâ€?, he said. â€œI played well and I â€˜m happy with my results.â€?
It was the first ITTF World Junior Circuit event to be held in Morocco and everyone left pleased with the organisation; the tournament finished in with traditional Moroccan dancing being the highlight of the closing ceremony.