Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Value of ITTF Global Junior Programme Witnessed in Santo Domingo
The ITTF Global Junior Programme under the direction of Mikael Andersson has undoubtedly proved a great success.

It has given more countries the opportunity to subject their young players to international competition and it has also helped those with notable potential improve their levels of play.

On Friday 4th April 2008 the first fact is certainly being endorsed at the Egypt Junior Open with twenty-four countries participating in the ITTF Junior Circuit event, whilst on the same date, the latter fact was underlined indelibly at the Latin American Championships in Santo Domingo.
Andy Pereira so near but little consolation
Cuba’s Andy Pereira and Colombia’s Paula Medina, both players who been supported by the ITTF Global Junior Programme, having just finished a six months stint at the National Training Centre in Köping, Sweden, excelled.

It was for Andy Pereira so near yet so far; in the semi-final stage of the Men’s Team event. He came within a whisker of beating Argentina’s Liu Song, the reigning Latin American Men’s Singles champion, he lost 15-13 in the decisive fifth game.

One can only be left to wonder; had there been a change in fortunes the end result could have been very different. It was the first match of the fixture; in the second Pavel Oxamendy beat Pablo Tabachnik to level matters but then Argentina took control.

Gaston Alto and Pablo Tabachnik beat Dimeys Gongora and Andy Pereira in the doubles with Liu Song bringing matters to an end with victory over Dimeys Gongora.

Sport is often about what might have been; what might have been if Andy Pereira had beaten Liu Song?

However, for Paula Medina it was victory.

She overcame both Dayana Ferrer and Anisleivys Gonzalez as Colombia beat Cuba by three matches to one at the penultimate stage of the Women’s Team event and certainly established themselves as the team of the tournament.

The one further win for Colombia came from Johana Araque, she defeated Glendys Gonzalez in the second match of the proceedings; the sole Cuban success came in the doubles. Anisleivys Bereau and Glendys Gonzalez defeated Johana Araque and Luisa Zuluaga.

Mexico Suffers
Meanwhile, in the corresponding semi-finals it was a brace of three-nil victories with Mexico the country to suffer in both duels; in the Men’s Team event they lost to top seeds Brazil and in the women’s also to the top seeds, the Dominican Republic.

In the male version of proceedings Hugo Hoyama beat Jude Okoh, Gustavo Tsuboi accounted for Marcos Madrid and matters came to an end with Thiago Monteiro and Gustavo Tsuboi defeating Milton Garcia and Jude Okoh.

The Brazilians held the aces as did the Dominican Republic in the female duel.

Wu Xue accounted for Yadira Silva, Lian Qian overcame Laura Rosales whilst in the doubles victory went to Lian Qian and Joenny Valdez; they beat Laura Rosales and Sara Rosas.