Manav Thakkar became the first Indian to occupy the top spot (3,455 points) on the ITTF World Junior Circuit standings, following the conclusion of play in Belgrade recently. He was previously placed at No. 5 position.

This must have given Manav the boost that he needed after finishing runner-up at the 2017 Serbian Junior and Cadet Open. The players that follow him in WJC standings include American Kanak Jha at No.2 (2,950 points), Argentina’s Francisco Sanchi (2,895 points), Frenchman Bastien Rembert (2,880 points) and Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin (2,706 points).

Thus, the boy from Surat ensured a place for himself in the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals to be staged next February in Luxembourg.

Earlier last week, after winning gold at the Egypt Open, Selenadeepthi Selvakumar, jumped several places, from being No. 31 to No. 5 (2,350 points) to make things a little difficult for Archana Girish Kamath, who needs to push herself besides having to complete the two-continent criteria.

Archana, who finished a runner-up at Belgrade Open, will be participating at next week’s India Junior and Cadet Open at Greater Noida. Other than this, she is also slated to compete in the Portugal Open next month to make it to the top 16 of the list.

Incidentally, both Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath are members of the “ITTF With the Future in Mind” programme for Youth Olympics at Buenos Aires next year. They had attended the recent training camp in Slovenia.