Kanak Jha, only 13 years old but a major challenger for honours in Markham
Photo By: Thorsten Gohl
Butterfly 2014 Canadian Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit (Click here to access this section)
Successful a lifetime ago, when Abe Berenbaum, Bud Blattner, Jimmy McClure and Sol Schiff won titles at World Championships; the years when storm clouds were forming over Europe, the Second World War imminent, the United States of America has never been able to repeat such feats.
In those days it was a much different World Championships to the forthcoming ZEN-NOH World Team Championships; in 1937 when the United States won the Men’s Team title in Baden, a total of 11 outfits competed and there was not one Asian country in sight.
Since those heady days there have worthy Americans.
The likes of Danny Seemiller, younger brother Ricky, Eric and Scott Boggan plus Jim Butler have all proved most worthy adversaries.
However, now there are there two young men, who are now becoming familiar faces on the international scene; they may surpass the achievements of the post war generations and even match the efforts of the pre-war generation?
Step forward Kanak Jha and Kunal Chodri’ both appear on the entry list for the forthcoming Butterfly 2014 Canadian Junior and Cadet Open.
The tournament will be staged in Markham commencing on Thursday 10th April and concluding on Sunday 13th April.
They are both only 13 years old but both are contenders for honours in the junior events in Markham; their performances last December endorse the fact they are two young men, more senior players will be quite desperate to avoid in the early stages of the competition.
At the ITTF World Junior Championships in Rabat, Morocco; both qualified for the main draw of the Junior Boys’ Singles event; an event for which they will both be eligible in 2018!
Furthermore, both suffered defeats at the hands of most worthy opponents. Kanak Jha was beaten by Frenchman Alexandre Robinot, Kunal Chodri by the awesome power of China’s Liang Jinkun.
United States National Championships
However, the performances soon after the gathering in North America were perhaps greater indicators of the duos potential.
Impressively, at the United States National Championships held in Las Vegas from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st December 2013, they performed beyond expectations.
Timothy Wang won the Men’s Singles title but at the semi-final stage, he was given a severe grilling by Kanak Jha; a full distance seven games win being the end result (9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5).
Defeat in the Men’s Singles event for Kanak Jha but to reach the penultimate round at such a tender age was an outstanding performance; bronze was the colour of his medal but that was not the situation in the Under 21 Men’s Singles, Junior Boys’ Singles and Cadet Boys’ Singles events. In all three he struck gold!
World Hopes Team
Notably, in the Junior Boys’ Singles the final victim was Kunal Chodri (11-6, 11-8, 11-5).
Furthermore, both were members of the World Hopes Team in 2011, with Kanak Jha also being in member one year.
In Markham, could a former World Hopes Team member become an ITTF Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles winner?
It would not be a first for an ITTF World Hopes Team member to win such a title; Hong Kong’s Hung Ka Tak, a member in 2010, won last year in New Caledonia as did Argentina’s Fermin Tenti on home soil in Buenos Aires and in Guatemala.
Fermin Tenti was a member of the World Hopes Team 2009, the very first year og the concept.
However if either can succeed, they would hold a record, they would be the youngest boys to win who were once World Hopes Team members; a worthy accolade for which to strive.