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Gold and Silver for Silva as Mexican Patience is Rewarded in Cancun
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Yadira Silva the 2010 Latin American Women's Singles champion  Photo By: Fernando Aguilar

3/7/2010        2010 Latin American Championships (Click here to access this section)

They cheered, they waited, they hoped and on the final day of action it happened.

The host nation boasted a gold medallist at the 2010 Latin American Championships, staged in the Mexican city of Cancun; on Saturday 6th March, 24 year old Yadira Silva, not listed amongst the top four seeds, delivered the goods.

In the first ever singles final at a Latin American Championships, and in most other continental championships, where two players with the same surname contested the gold medal, it was Yadira who prevailed in opposition to Ligia.

Full Titles
Accepted, having Spanish based names you can add a maiden name at the end, so to give them their full titles; Yadira Silva Llorente of Mexico beat Ligia Silva Santos of Brazil 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 16-14, 11-8 to clinch the top prize.

Second Time for Mexico
It was the first time that Yadira Silva, who learnt her trade in Cuba before moving to Mexico, had reached the Women’s Singles final at a Latin American Championships and it was only the second time in the history of the tournament that a Mexican player had achieved that distinction.

The one previous occasion was three decades earlier when in 1980, Diana Guillen succeeded in Rio de Janeiro and like Yadira Silva, she beat a Brazilian adversary; she overcame Maria Pupa.

Fourth Gold
In fact, the victory in Cancun is only the fourth time that Mexico has won gold in the Latin American Championships and they have very much relied on the ladies for success.

The year 1980 was the most successful when Diana Guillen, in addition to winning the Women’s Singles crown, partnered Alicia Bernal to Women’s Team gold.

Three successes for the women but only one for the men; in the first ever Latin American Championships staged in Mexico City in 1978 the quartet of Francisco Mendez, Roberto Otero, Sergio Sanchez and Jorge Zavola won the Men’s Team event.

Two Gold, Two Silver
A first Latin American Women’s Singles final for Yadira Silva whilst for Ligia Silva it was fourth and the record now stands at two gold, two silver.

In 2007 on home soil in Guarulhos she was beaten in the final by the Dominican Republic’s Wu Xue but one prior and two years later she was successful; in 2006 she overcame Venezuela’s Fabiola Ramos in the final in the Colombian city of Medellin whilst just one year ago, in 2009, she succeeded in the capital city of El Salvador, San Salvador.

On that occasion she defeated compatriot Mariany Nonaka to secure the top prize.

Alas for Brazil, Ligia Silva as in 2007 was unable to retain her title.

Status Confirmed
Nevertheless, she did to a great extent confirm the fact that she is still very much amongst the very best in Latin America.

Seeded no.1 in Cancun, she was never extended the full distance en route to the final. In the opening round she overcame the rapidly improving Peruvian teenager, Nadia Quiñonez before ousting Chile’s Blanca Duran, El Salvador’s Morayle Alvarez and Puerto Rico’s Lyanne Aponte to reach the final.

Seeds Fall
However, she was the only one of the top four seeds to reach the final and two did not make the penultimate stage.

Under the guiding hand of Bladimir and Marangely Diaz, who have performed nothing short of miracles in Puerto Rico, 18 year old Lyanne Aponte overcame third seed, Colombia’s Paula Medina in a nerve tingling seven games quarter-final duel whilst at the same stage, fourth seed, Chile’s Berta Rodriguez bid farewell.

She was beaten in an equally gruelling encounter by the champion elect, Yadira Silva who then in four straight games disposed of second seed, Venezuela’s Fabiola Ramos.

Volkswagen Women’s World Cup Awaits
An impressive semi-final victory for Yadira Silva, who in the opening two rounds had been equally impressive, beating compatriot Laura Rosales in round one and Puerto Rico’s Carelyn Cordero in round two.

A good start and a good finish; for Yadira Silva, who in 2008 became the first player from Mexico to compete in the table tennis events at the Olympic Games when she appeared in Beijing, it was another success of note and another first appearance is on the horizon.

The Volkswagen Women’s World Cup in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur now awaits.

Lyanne Aponte (left) who reached the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event and (right) Ligia Silva, the runner up .

Photos by Fernando Aguilar

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