14-year-old Kanak JHA youngest winner

June 30, 2014: Kanak JHA youngest winner, JHA will be joined at the ITTF World Cup by the 2014 ITTF-North American Cup Women’s champion, Canada’s ZHANG Mo, and the 2014 ITTF-African Cup Men’s and Women’s Champions, Nigeria’s Quadri ARUNA and Egypt’s Dina MESHREF.

The ITTF-North American Cup and ITTF-African Cup were the final two qualification events for the 2014 Men’s and Women’s ITTF World Cups, which are two of the most prestigious table tennis events on the ITTF calendar.

Only 20 of the best table tennis players in the world qualify for these top events. The 2014 editions will take place in:

• Women’s World Cup, 17 – 19 Oct 2014, Place TBD
• LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup, 24 – 26 Oct 2014, Dusseldorf, Germany

The 2014 ITTF-North American Cup was staged in Burnaby, Canada from 25 Jun to 26 Jun 2014. In the Men’s finals, Kanak JHA overcame compatriot Adam HUGH in five games (12-10, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4) to secure the Men’s title.

After his victory, the 14 year old stated “In the finals, I knew that I had what it takes to beat him (Adam HUGH), but it was mostly a mental game. It was important to win the first few games to set the tone of the match.”

“I never expected to come to the finals and even make it to the World Cup! I am very happy and I definitely will play my best there, it will be a great experience.”

Meanwhile, Canada’s top ranked player ZHANG Mo defeated USA’s rising star, 12 year old Crystal WANG four-one (11-4, 8-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-7) in the Women’s finals to secure the top position on the podium.

ZHANG will be making her third appearance in the Women’s World Cup, she played previously in 2009 and 2010. She stated: “The home crowd is great, helping me a lot! I am really happy to be qualified for the Women’s World Cup again, after missing it for three years.”

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Nigeria hosted the 2014 ITTF-Africa Cup in the city of Lagos which Nigeria’s Quadri ARUNA and Egypt’s Dina MESHREF emerged successful in the Men’s & Women’s Singles respectively.

Defeated in the semifinals of the recent Nigeria Open, Quadri ARUNA had his sweet revenge against the top seed, Egypt’s Omar ASSAR in the semifinals of the 2014 ITTF Africa Cup. He eventually took down the defending champion, El-Sayed LASHIN (EGY) in the finals showdown in a tight 7-games match (11-9, 13-15, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-2).

The 25-year-old Nigerian shared on his win: “This victory meant a lot to me and it is the beginning of a new era in my career because it will surely improve my ranking.”

In the Women’s Singles finals, Dina MESHREF overcame Quadri ARUNA’s compatriot Olufunke OSHONAIKE in 4 straight games (11-6, 13-11, 11-9, 16-14) to secure her ticket to the Women’s World Cup.

After her triumph, the Egyptian heroine stated: “It was not an easy match but I am so happy winning. I am excited to represent Africa at the World Cup and I hope I can win a medal there!”

JHA, ZHANG, ARUNA and MESHREF join the following players that have qualified for the Men’s and Women’s World Cups:

• DHS 2014 Europe Cup: LI Jiao (NED), LIU Jia (AUT), Viktoria PAVLOVICH (BLR), Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER), Marcos FREITAS (POR), Michael MAZE (DEN)
• GAC 2014 Honda Asian Cup: DING Ning (CHN), LI Xiaoxia (CHN), YU Mengyu (SIN), MA Long (CHN), Jun MIZUTANI (JPN)
• K-Sport 2014 ITTF-Oceania Cup: William HENZELL (AUS), LAY Jianfang (AUS)
• 2014 ITTF-Latin America Cup: Cazuo MATSUMOTO (BRA), Caroline KUMAHARA (BRA)

Current World Champions ZHANG Jike (CHN) and LI Xiaoxia(CHN) also qualified directly.
The additional places will be based on world ranking on those who participated in the Continental Cups but did not gain an automatic qualification position. —- Photo Credit: ITTF

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