Poland’s Ilona Sztwiertnia enjoyed a successful day in Varazdin (Photo: ETTU)
A top two finish in the initial group stage the goal for the top 16 rated teams at the Gazprom 2021 European Youth Championships, in Varazdin, Croatia; on the opening day of play, Sunday 18th July, the junior boys’ event provided the upsets.
Four teams per group, Spain, Portugal and France clinched surprise first places, only Poland, the no.4 seeds, justified their status.
Somewhat differently, the format being the same, in the junior girls’ team competition, the respective top three seeded outfits in the guise of Russia, Romania and France claimed first place, Poland supplied the surprise.
Junior boys’ team
In the boys’ team event, Spain (Miguel Nuñez, Marc Gutierrez, Juan Perez), upset proceedings to finished ahead of Italy (John Oyebode, Andrea Puppo, Marco Capuccio) with top seeds, Belgium (Adrian Rassenfosse, Nicolas Degros, Alessi Massart) in third place.
Good news for the Iberian Peninsula, it was the same for Portugal (Tiago Li, Gonçalo Gomez, David Bessa); they finished ahead of Russia (Damir Akhmetsafin, Maksim Bokov), the no.2 seeds.
Likewise, Germany (Daniel Rinderer, Kay Stumper, Hannes Hoermann, Tom Schweiger), the no.3 seeds, had to settle for runners up spot. They ended the day behind France (Alexis Lebrun, Thibault Poret, Alexis Kourachi).
Problems for the top three seeds, not for the fourth in line. Poland (Samuel Kulczycki, Maciej Kubik, Milosaz Redzimski, Szymon Kolasa, Lucasz Sokolowski). Impressively, they finished ahead of Sweden (Martin Friis, Charlie Widing, Hugo Torngren, Daniel Lindso).
Junior girls’ team
Meanwhile, in junior girls’ team event, Russia (Natalia Malinina, Elizabet Abraamian, Liubov Tentser), the top seeds, secured first place with Sweden (Naomin Bassan, Rebecca Muskantor, Matilda Hansson) next in line.
Similarly, it was first place for Romania (Elena Zaharia, Ioana Singeorzan, Luciana Mitrofan, Oana Sruna), the no.2 seeds, as it was for France (Isa Cok, Camille Lutz, Charlotte Lutz, Lucie Mobarek), the no.3 seeds.
Respective second positions went to Ukraine (Anastasiya, Dymytrenko, Iolanta Yevtodii, Alina Vydruchenko) and Turkey (Ece Harac, Ozge Yilmaz, Yagmur Karacam Zeynep Karaca).
First place as anticipated, for Germany (Anastasia Bodareva, Sophie Kleem Naomi Pranjkovic), the no.4 seeds, it was third position. They ended the day behind Poland (Anna Brzyska, Zuzanna Wieglos, Ilona Sztwiertina) and Italy (Nicole Arlia, Jamila Laurenti, Arianna Barani).
Format of play
Play in the team events is conducted in a series of stages.
In the first stage the top 15 teams plus the team finishing in 17th place at the most recent European Youth Championships (Ostrava 2019) compete in level one; all remaining teams participate in level two.
Four groups, each of four teams form level one – A,B,C,D.
Eight groups, each of three or four teams form level two – I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P.
Teams finishing in first and second positions in level one advance direct to stage three, the main draw.
In stage two, teams finishing in first position in groups named I,J,K,L play the third placed teams from stage one. Teams in level two who finished in group first place named E,F,G,H play the fourth placed teams from Stage One.
Winners of the eight play-off matches join the teams finishing in first and second places in the level one groups to form stage three. They compete for positions one to 16 on a progressive knock-out basis.
At the conclusion of proceedings, the team finishing in position 16 is relegated to level two in stage one for the following year.
Losers of the eight play-off matches plus the second placed teams in level two from the first stage, compete from places 17 to 32 on a progressive knock-out basis.
The team finishing in position 17 is promoted to level one in stage one for the following year.
All other teams compete for places 33 and below, again on a progressive knock-out basis.
The junior events are scheduled for Sunday 18th to Saturday 24th July, the cadet age group competitions from Tuesday 27th July to Monday 2nd August.