Alameda Bros Win Two Bronze Medals

Courtesy Photo    Kai (left) annd Aziz (right) Zarehbin celebrate winning two bronze medals with their coach Rajko Gommers at the Slovak Cadet Table Tennis Open.

Alameda brothers, Kai and Aziz Zarehbin, finished third in the boys’ cadet doubles and team divisions at the International Table Tennis Federation’s Slovak Cadet Open in Slovakia, Hungary last month.

The three-day tournament took place from Nov. 2 to 4 in Senec, Slovakia. The Zarehbin brothers were two of the 156 participants from 23 different countries to compete in the tournament. The tournament had a boys’ and girls’ division.

The tournament featured three events for the young players: cadet singles, cadet teams and cadet doubles. In cadet team event, two-player teams face off to try to win the best of five matches. It starts with two singles matches, followed by a doubles match, and then the players switch opponents to play two more singles matches. Play stops as soon as one team wins three matches.

Kai and Aziz were the 12th seed in the team event. The team event started with a four-team round-robin. They lost the first match 3-2 to Sanzhar Zhubanov and Alan Kurmangaliyev of Kazajhstan. The brothers won their next two matches (3-0 against Martin Skotnica and Jan Pisar of Czech Republic and 3-1 against Andrei Isitrate and Daniel Moldovan of Romania) to advance to the 16-team knockout tournament. 

The brothers won their round of 16 match 3-0 against the German three team of Tobias Saltzer and Lleyton Ullmann. Kai, 12, fought back to win the first match 3-2 (13-15, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8) against Saltzer after losing the first two sets. Aziz won his match 3-1 (5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8) against Ullmann. The brothers won the doubles match 3-1 (7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8).

The Alameda natives won their quarterfinal match 3-0 against the Chinese Taipei team of Tzu-Jui Hsiao and Po-Chun Tai. Kai beat Hsiao 3-0 (11-4, 11-2, 11-9) in the first singles match. Aziz took down Tai in second singles match 3-1 (8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 13-11). They won the doubles match 3-0 (11-3, 11-8, 11-5).  

The team lost their semifinal match 3-0 to the French team of Thibault Poret and Felix Lebrun. Aziz lost to Pret in the first single match 3-1 (11-8, 13-15, 2-11, 7-11). Kai was defeated by Lebrun 3-0 (5-11, 6-11, 7-11). The Alamedans lost the doubles match 3-0 (3-11, 8-11, 6-11).

In the doubles event, the Zarehbin brothers advanced to the semifinals where they lost 3-1 (5-11, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11) to the French team of Milhane Jellouli and Alexis Kouraichi.