Group Stage Successfully Completed in Chengdu

Germany Asserts Authority, Portugal Upsets Seeding

Four years since the World Team Championships was most recently staged, times have changed.

On Tuesday 4th October, as the main draw was conducted for the 2022 ITTF World Team Championships Finals Chengdu presented by China Telecom, eyes focused very much on the teams, who in that period of time, have risen in status.

Photo Credit: “Courtesy of World Table Tennis / Li Zhiyan”

In the men’s event, Slovenia who finished in second place in their men’s team group, behind China, faces Portugal in the opening round; for Slovenia, Darko Jorgic, winner of the Europe Top 16 Cup earlier in the year, may well prove pivotal in a fixture too close to call.

“I’m really happy with our performance here. We lost only against China; this is normal. We gave everything we could, they were just much better than us”, said Jorgic. “In other matches, we were favorites. We gave it all from the beginning till the end. I’m really happy with our performance here, and I’m really happy that we qualified into round 16 for the first time.”

Likewise, it was the group runners-up spot for Brazil who confront Japan; in their concluding group contest, they overcame Slovakia. Hugo Calderano remained unbeaten in the group stage, and Vitor Ishiy and Eric Jouti provided valuable support.

“We were fighting for second place in this match”, reflected Ishiy. “It’s nice to go to the last 16 with the victory.”

Similarly, it was the second group spot for Egypt behind the Republic of Korea; they oppose Hong Kong, a contest Mohamed El-Beiali relishes. “We’re very happy to be on such a big stage, we’re looking forward to the knockout stage. No matter who we meet, we’ll try our best and win.”

Team Puerto Rico celebrating their qualification for round of 16 - Photo Credit: “Courtesy of World Table Tennis / Li Zhiyan”

Delighted to be breaking new ground, the women’s team event is no different; pride of place going to the small Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico, second in their group behind China. In round one they face Germany.

Daniely Rios, who against both Malaysia and the United States had been the heroine, on each occasion winning the vital fifth match of the fixture, reflected the mood of Puerto Rico.

“We are in the best 16 in the World Championships, I am so happy about that. I’m really happy that we made it for first time ever; this is history for my team. If my kids see this in the future, they will say ‘she made it!’”

New horizons for Puerto Rico but even if your team has been there before; progress to the last 16 of a World Championships is still very special.

Soo Wai Yam Minnie underlined the importance of Hong Kong in the women’s event; a team bolstered by their bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“It’s my second time participating in a World Championships”, said Soo who four years ago in Halmstad beat the redoubtable Ding Ning, at time Olympic champion, in the semi-final encounter against China. “I really enjoy working together with my teammates,” she added. “We will try our best no matter what opponents we play against in the future.”

Hong Kong faces Romania in round one, a nation whose excellence in the sport dates back to the very beginnings of the sport.

Buoyant players, but the example is set by China, in the men’s event India provides the opening round adversary; in the women’s it is Hungary. They are the clear favorites to retain their titles but as Wang Manyu explained there is no complacency.

“We believe that we will face many difficulties in the second stage, and we will be fully prepared”, explained Wang. “Most importantly, all the team members will stay united and play even better.”

Play the opening round of both the men’s and women’s events commences on Wednesday 5th October.

Source : ITTF Media


First Qualified Teams Known

Germany Asserts Authority, Portugal Upsets Seeding

Germany and India alongside Chinese Taipei and Portugal secured places in the main draw of the women’s event at the 2022 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Presented by China Telecom on Monday 3rd October.

Maintaining their unbeaten record, fielding the trio of Han Ying, Nina Mittelham, and Shan Xiaona, Germany, the no.5 seeds, recorded a 3-0 win against the Czech Republic to bring their first stage matches to a conclusion; soon after, in the same group, India posted a 3-1 win in opposition to Egypt.

“We have achieved our goal to be the first in the group”, explained Nina Mittelham.

The third position in the group was the lot of the Czech Republic, they must wait to hear their fate. In both the men’s and women’s events, first and second places gain main draw entry; the remaining places are taken by the third-placed teams with the highest ITTF World Team Ranking as of September 2022.

In women’s Group 6, Chinese Taipei, the no.7 seeds, experienced a 3-2 defeat when facing Sweden. Tense moments, nerves were even more strained in the 3-2 reverse experienced by Romania, the no.6 seeds when opposing Portugal.

Lining up alongside Jieni Shao and Ines Matos, the mainstay of victory was Fu Yu; she beat both Bernadette Szocs (11-7, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6) and Elizabeta Samara in the vital last match of the contest (10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7).

“We had pressure, it was the important match to decide who would pass the group safely,” reflected Matos. “I think my team managed the pressure very well, they are amazing.”

The end result was that Chinese Taipei and Portugal each concluded the group stage with five points and thus advanced to the main draw. Romania and Sweden finished with four points apiece. Two teams level, the result when they faced each other decides the outcome. Earlier Chinese Taipei had beaten Portugal and thus gained group first place, and Romania had overcome Sweden, thus reserving the third spot; for Sweden, the end of the road, and for Romania progress hangs in the balance.

In the men’s event, however, Chinese Taipei suffered a third consecutive loss. Singapore defeated the no.7 seeds and 2014 bronze medallist 3-1.

For Croatia, a man of the moment was Filip Zeljko; he beat Belgium’s Martin Allegro (11-3, 7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7) and Cédric Nuytinck (10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7). Croatia duly finished the group in first place ahead of Belgium and Singapore.

“For the last 16 draws, if we don’t take China, we’ll be happy”, reflected Cédric Nuytinck. “Sweden has also a strong team; they have very good players and they’re very dangerous.”

China’s women’s team, the top seeds, recorded a 3-0 against the United States. Japan overcame Hungary 3-0 to maintain their unblemished record, earlier Hong Kong had recorded the same margin of victory against Brazil. Puerto Rico secured a 3-0 win against Canada and stands next in line to China; Japan having played one match less is in the second spot behind Slovakia.

Slovenia's men team with their coach Andreja Ojstersek Urh. Credit: “Courtesy of World Table Tennis / Rémy Gros”

Similarly in the men’s event there was no stopping China, the top seeds, a 3-0 success was the end result against Slovenia, a team that showed inspired innovation. Andreja Ojstersek Urh, the only woman in charge of a men’s team in Chengdu and very much the mentor of Darko Jorgic, was unable to be present in person but was very much present in spirit. A special tablet with a video connection was erected in front of the bench, so she was able to offer advice.

Winning ways continuing; for Germany, it was back to winning ways, the no.2 seeds; they recorded a 3-1 win against France; in the same group India added a third victory by recording a 3-2 against a spirited Kazakhstan outfit. France now meets India; Germany opposes Uzbekistan to bring play in the group to a close.

Japan, the no.3 seeds and the Republic of Korea, the no.4 seeds, recorded 3-1 wins against Hong Kong, and Egypt respectively.

Defeats for Hong Kong and Egypt but both currently occupy second places; Egypt being level on points with the Czech Republic, who they meet in their concluding contest. Hong Kong meets Romania, Japan faces Hungary, the Republic of Korea confronts Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile for Sweden and Portugal, both teams unbeaten, it was a day of rest; in the concluding group contests, Sweden meets Poland, also unbeaten; Portugal faces Denmark, in the corresponding contest Brazil confronts Slovakia.

The group stage matches conclude on Tuesday 4th October, the day on which the draw for the knock-out phase will be conducted.

From 30 September to 9 October, the 2022 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Chengdu Presented by China Telecom see top players of 60 teams face off to win two of the sport’s most coveted prizes; the Swaythling and Corbillon Cups.

Source : ITTF Media

Brainiacs 2021 MSPL winners

Mindgames Scrabble Premier League Finale

Dominant Ewruje Picks Lekki Scrabble Classics Title
Organizers have begun activities towards the final weekend of this season’s Mindgames Scrabble Premier League (MSPL) and the prestigious Patrons Cup which holds on Friday and Saturday in Lagos.
The MSPL was introduced in 2019 as a team championship where players organized themselves into groups and compete across selected cities in the country over four weekends.
It has since re-ignited the spirit of teamwork, a sense of direction, and friendship amongst players while they compete on the board for honor and prestige collectively.
While the teams would be engaged in the MSPL, the Patrons Cup which is now in its second installment would be the battleground for individuals to win cash prizes as well as a trophy. 
Both competitions would hold side-by-side at the same venue.
After three weekends of action in Lagos, Benin, and Abuja, Division A leaders Airpop Alpha would hope to wade off some fierce challenges and sustain their lead on the table as they head into Matchday 4 and 5 with 26 wins and 10 losses. 
Lekki Bombers and Bulldozers occupied the second and third positions with 22 wins and 14 defeats but were only separated by individual players’ records.
Defending champions Brainiacs are fourth on the log with 20 victories in 36 rounds just sitting atop of Matchday Three winners Hurricanes who need more gusto to improve on their record of 19 wins and 17 defeats, a similar record shared with sixth place Bayelsa Maestros.
The Indomitable and Supremes who occupied the seventh and eighth positions, however, share a mirror-like result of 18 wins and 18 defeats. 
Gracious Pickers Team A,  Tekena Drones, Phoenix, and Sterling Bombers complete the 12-team table accordingly. 
Heading into the concluding weekend in Division B,  Southern Crowns shines brightly at the summit with 28 wins and 8 defeats ahead of second-placed Aries (25 wins & 11 defeats)  and Anagrammers (24 wins & 12 defeats) who occupied the third position. 
Bayelsa Virtuoso (22 wins and 14 defeats) and D’ Warriors (19 wins and 17 defeats) would be aiming to launch out strongly with some beliefs despite occupying the fourth and fifth positions respectively. 
Airport Falcons which is the only all-female cast team are sixth while FPC Titans,  Matadors, Encore Flamingos, High Flyers,  BSP Rangers, and Gracious Pickers Team B occupied the seventh,  eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth place respectively. 
Teams would stretch to pick every available point with every move in the remaining 19 games.
Meanwhile, American firm Scopely,  owner of the ScrabbleGO app will broadcast the matches live on its streaming platform: http://www.twitch.tv/scrabble
MGi Chief Lukeman Owolabi stated that his team is ready to deliver another standard-setting event that would match the excitement the two tournaments truly deserve. 
A cash prize of over six million nairas would be won after the conclusion of matchday 4 and 5 on Saturday.
Scrabble in the jungle