Winners Rewarded

Caroline Kumahara - Brazil victorious in San Salvador

 Carolina Kumahara  BRA and Rodrigo Tapia ECU can now set a circle around the dates 14-26 August and book their tickets to Singapore – Youth Olympic Games.

 The second day of competition at the Pan Am qualifcation event  went according to plans for the  promising  young girl from São Paulo . She struggled mildly against the vastly improved Daniela Castillo from Colombia in the quarters,  having  to solve an early  0-2 deficit in games,  but came back and played well the rest of the way. In the final,  Caroline lost the first game against Carolyn Cordero from Puerto Rico but recovered to win four out of the next five  games for the victory. 

Girls singles day 2 ; Caroline Kumahara BRA vs Carelyn Cordero PUR  ; 4-2 (-15,1,7,-14,7,4)

I like this young girl. Probably the best female  prospect from Latin  America in many years.  Excellent back hand side , relatively sharp service and good touch over the table for return of service are upsides..  Improvements needed are mainly all aspects of the forehand side except perhaps pure power.  Mentally she is also showing what i would describe as a bit of a winning edge – and that goes a long way in this part of the Table Tennis world. 

In the boys singles it was Michael Landers from the USA and Ricardo Taipa,  Ecuador reaching the final.  I will get back to what i call the Michael Landers story in another posting . Few would know that  this young man  actually  became the youngest  US Nationals- Mens singles champion  in Las Vegas late last year. The story you ask  ?!  Well he did it in  a most unorthodox way..

Nevertheless . Here he is , entering the international scene for only the second time,  following his national team debut at the North American Junior Championships in Montreal back in August 2009.  Unseeded , Landers  yesterday failed in a tough match against Pablo Saragovi from Argentina. Getting used to a different environment , trying to find a way to balance emotions and  what i would describe as ” daring the play your best”  are struggles that you see from young US players each every time . The  change from the all over social aspect and non competitive spirit at US events    to the tough trade of international events is not easy.  

Today in San Salvador the young man from New Jersey learned a lesson . He quickly grabbed a 3 -1 lead in the final against the hard-working Rodrigo Tapai from Ecuador,  but  failed to close out the match, became nervous and unsecure.  A ticket to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore left the corner of USA and landed with an 11-8 victory in the seventh game with Rodrigo Tapia and his coach.

Nice piece of emotions with the two Ecuadorians celebrating the victory in the end.. And also well deserved ! Rodrigo is in all aspects trying to be at his best,  always arriving at the table  ready to play.

Boys singles ; Tapia ECU def Landers USA  ; 4-3  (-10,-9,5,-10, 5,8,7) 

Reporting from San Salvador in the best  lympic Spirit

Mikael Andersson, ITTF

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