Ivy Liao set her team on the road to victory against Argentina
Photo By: Thorsten Gohl
2016 PANAM Junior Championships (Click here to access this section)
Medals have been sparse for the host nation at the 2016 Panam Junior Championships in Burnaby, British Columbia; however, on the concluding day of play, Thursday 30th June, there was good news.
Both the Canadian Boys’ Team and Canadian Girls’ Team reserved places at the forthcoming World Junior Championships to be staged in the South African city of Cape Town later this year.
Furthermore in the vital play-off contests, victory was secured in convincing style and as status predicted. The boys occupied the no.3 seeded position; the girls commenced matters at the no.4 seeds.
Against Argentina, the no.4 seeds, Ivy Liao gave Canada the perfect start by beating Camila Kaizoji (11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9); Alicia Cote followed suit accounting for Ana Zapatero (11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6), before Isabelle Xiong concluded matters with victory over Candela Perez (13-11, 11-8, 11-13, 14-12).
“I was very nervous and was unable to serve short well, her topspin was very good and I had to use a short serve at the end of the match”, said Isabelle Xiong, after beating Candela Perez. “I am very happy that we won.”
A three-nil success for the girls; it was the same for the boys against Peru, the no.5 seeds.
Filip Ilijevski set the wheels in motion; he beat Moises Duffoo (11-1, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5). Jeremy Hazin followed with success against Sebastian Ortiz (11-5, 11-2, 10-12, 11-9), before Alexander Moran concluded matters by defeating Jhon Loli (11-9, 11-8, 11-7).
“I am relieved; this was the goal of both these teams”, said Pradeeban Peter-Paul, the coach of the Boys’ Team who in his playing days represented North America in the Men’s World Cup on no less than five occasions.
He made his debut in Courmayeur in 2001, his swansong in Paris in 2011.
“Peru played well”, he added. “They wanted it just as much as we did.”
Mixed Fortunes for Puerto Rico
Success upon success for Canada, for the visitors from the Caribbean, it was mixed fortunes for Puerto Rico.
The girls succeeded, for the boys it was disappointment.
Adriana Diaz led the Puerto Rican Girls’ Team, the no.3 seeds, to victory against Peru, the no.5 seeds. She opened proceedings by beating Valeria Cuba (11-4, 11-2, 11-8), before elder sister, Gabriela Diaz, accounted for Janina Nieto (11-8, 11-6, 11-6) to set the scene for Lineris Rivera.
The 15 year old duly concluded matters but there were some tense moments. She was extended the full five games distance by Micaela Regaria, only succeeding by the narrowest of margins in the fifth game (13-11, 11-2, 11-13, 6-11, 11-9).
Meanwhile, the for the Puerto Rican Boys’ Team, the no.7 seeds, it was a three-one defeat at the hands of Brazil, the no.4 seeds.
Mainstay of the Brazilian victory was Gustavo Yokota; he accounted for Sebastian Echevarria (11-6, 11-5, 11-7) and for Yomar Gonzalez (11-9, 11-9, 13-11).
The one further win for the South Americans was recorded by Siddharta Almeida in the third match of the fixture; he accounted for Francisco Matias (11-8, 11-5, 11-7). The one win for Puerto Rico was secured by Yomar Gonzalez; in the second match of the fixture, he beat Rodrigo Yonesake (11-8, 11-5, 11-7).
North America at World Junior Championships
Thus for North America, in the Boys’ Team event at the 2016 World Junior Championships, Brazil and Canada join Argentina and the United States; in the Girls’ Team competition Canada and Puerto Rico line up alongside Brazil and the United States.
Day Six: Boys’ Team and Girls’ Team titles decided, places at World Junior Champions decided
Photos by Christian Martinez – RGB Studios