Stella Maris College in ISF World Schools’ Table Tennis Championships

Friday, April 16, 2010, 19:30

Through the contacts made by the Malta Schools Federation and the necessary technical assistance of the Malta Table Tennis Association, for the first time Stella Maris College, Gzira participated in the International School Sport Federation World Schools’ Table Tennis Championships held in the Czech Republic from 25th to 31st March 2010.

The College represented Malta in the Champion Boys’ Team Event and individual Events. The Boys faced stiff opposition in their group from Poland, Ireland, England, Slovakia and the Host Team Czech Republic.

The Stella Maris College Contingent

The Maltese Contingent was composed as follows:-

Coach/Official Mr. Kevin Azzopardi
Umpire Gabriel Chircop
Athletes :- Daniel Bajada, Karl Gech, Mikael Debono, Chris Portelli.

59 Teams from around the World participated in team and individual events which were staged in the Vut Hall, University of Brno, Czech. The Championships were for players under 17 years of age.

1st Day

The Stella Maris College side opened its commitments in Brno, Czech Republic with two defeats on the opening day, against Poland and Ireland.

In the first match against the Poles, Daniel Bajada lost 3-1 to Marcin Sciblak and 3-0 to Lukasz Nadolski. Karl Grech suffered two identical 3-0 defeats versus Lukasz Nadolski and Jakub Dyjas. The same fate was suffered by Mikael Debono who lost both matches against Jakub Dyjas and Marcin Sciblak. In the doubles match, Bajada and Christopher Portelli lost to the Poles 3-0.

The second match was a much tighter affair as Bajada clinched two identical 3-0 victories against Eoin Murphy and Alex Cooney while Karl Grech beat Eoin Murphy 3-2 and lost 3-0 to Declan O’Brien. On his part, Chrisopher Portelli suffered two 3-0 defeats versus Alex Cooney and Declan O’Brien. In the crucial doubles encounter Bajada and Portelli narrowly lost 3-2 against the Irish.

2nd Day Narrow defeat for Malta against England

The Stella Maris College narrowly lost against England in their final group match.Once again, Daniel Bajada won both his singles matches 3-0 against Harpeet Rupal and Joshua Robinson while when teaming up with Karl Grech in the doubles event, the Maltese pair won 3-0. However, Grech lost both his singles matches 3-0 against Joshua Robinson and Nishanth Narayanan while Christopher Portelli also suffered two identical 3-0 defeats versus Nishanth Narayanan and Harpeet Rupal.

Meanwhile, late on Friday evening Bajada lost 3-1 against Martin Jezo and 3-2 against Adrian Gajdoschik of Slovakia. Grech suffered two 3-0 defeats versus Matej Mucha and Martin Jezo while Mikael Debono also suffered two 3-0 defeats against Adrian Gajdoschik and Matej Mucha. In the doubles encounter, Bajada and Grech lost against their Slovak counterparts 3-0.

Malta played its final two matches on Sunday and claimed its first victory when they won the host team from Czech Republic.
It was indeed a fine ending to Stella Maris College’s debut in the ISF World Schools’ Table Tennis Championships in Brno, Czech Republic as the Maltese team romped home to a 4-1 win against the hosts.
Malta no. 1 Daniel Bajada again proved his worth by obtaining two 3-0 wins against Vojtech Trubak and Pavel Horacek. Karl Grech also managed a 3-0 win versus Pavel Horacek. In another singles match, Mikael Debono suffered a 3-0 defeat to Martin Kral. However, the Maltese made sure of victory by clinching the doubles match following Bajada and Grech’s 3-0 success over their Czech opponents.

Earlier on Malta lost 4-2 to Luxembourg with Bajada once again obtaining both points for Malta following a close 3-2 win Timo Wagner and a 3-1 victory against Jim Cloos. Karl Grech lost both matches against Yannick Quaring and Timo Wagner with an identical 3-0 scoreline as did Mikael Debono against Jim Cloos. In the doubles event Bajada and Debono lost 3-1 to the pair from Luxembourg.

3rd & final Day

Bajada reaches last 16 in Mixed Doubles

In the final day the Stella Maris College Students competed in the individual event and had a mixture of results in store.
In the singles event Malta no. 1 Daniel Bajada easily overcame Irishman Rory O’Dea 3-0 but was eliminated in the next round following a 3-0 defeat to Lauren Enghien of Belgium.

All other three Maltese players did not surpass the first hurdle as Karl Grech lost 3-0 to Alexandros Mitropoulos of Greece, Christopher Portelli lost 3-0 versus Filip Gajewski of Poland while Mikael Debono also lost 3-0 to German Marc Rode.

By virtue of his first round victory in the singles event, Bajada qualified directly to round two of the Doubles event where following two successive 2-0 wins against Patsoumadakis/Mikec (Greece/Croatia) and O’Brien/Lajdova (Ireland/Czech Republic), he was ultimately eliminated in the last 16 round together with his partner Lizette Maldonado from Puerto Rico, who lost 2-0 to Lewis/Stylianesis (England/Greece).

Earlier on Mikael Debono was eliminated in round two together with Pol Daix of Luxembourg who lost 2-0 to O’Brien/Vakrat (Ireland/Israel). In round 1 Debono and his partner had the better of Kral/Tsopelas (Czech Republic/Greece) 2-1.

Meanwhile, Karl Grech and Carolin Cisak suffered a 2-0 round one defeat versus Harpeet/Marion (England/France) while Chrisopher Portelli teamed up with Angie Baez of Puerto Rico but was also eliminated following a 2-1 defeat against Trubak/Dor (Czech Republic/Israel).

Undoubtedly this was a positive ending to the Maltese team’s participation especially for Daniel Bajada who personally notched nine singles victories and four doubles wins. In fact, following his performances in the team event he was ranked 22nd out of 108 players prior to the start of the individual competitions.

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