Countdown to Suva: Flashback to Guam

Honourable Eddie Baza Calvo, Governor of Guam, at the opening ceremony for the World Cadet Challenge five years ago. (Photo: Matt Weiss)

Today marks 50 days until Fiji welcomes players from all over the globe for the start of the 2017 World Cadet Challenge. It is the second time that Oceania will be the home for the world’s best under fifteen athletes, after Guam hosted the event five years ago.

2012 was a historic moment for Oceania, being the first time that the region had staged a world title event. And while Guam had not hosted an international table tennis tournament since the South Pacific Games in 1999, it proved to be the perfect location. The territory put on a successful show and Oceania demonstrated first hand that it could hold ITTF’s tentpole events.

The tournament also served as a springboard for some of the biggest names in the sport today. Mima Ito was a finalist in the Cadet Girls’ Singles, while Adriana Diaz was a member of the Latin America team that won bronze in the Cadet Girls’ Team event. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi, now an Olympian, was in the World Hopes Team and the Boys’ Singles gave us the likes of Korea Republic’s Cho Seungmin. What names will we remember from Fiji in a decade’s time.

Five years on and Oceania will once again be front and centre as Suva welcomes the world to its shores. Get ready. There is only fifty days to go!

The competition hall for the 2012 World Cadet Challenge was at the University of Guam. (Photo: Matt Weiss)