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Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
So Near Yet So Far but More than Satisfactory for Mexican on Debut
It was so near yet so far for Mexico’s 24 year old Yadira Silva at the Intercontinental Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Friday 24th September 2010.

She beat Canada’s Zhang Mo and New Zealand’s Karen Li but her one defeat at the hands of Congo Brazzaville’s Yang Fen cost her dear; second place was to be her lot.

Nevertheless, for the young lady who originates from Cuba, married and moved to Mexico, it was a most satisfactory performance on her debut in the event and reflected recent progress.
Yadira Silva flying the flag for Mexico in Kuala Lumpur
Success in Latin America
In 2003, when representing Cuba, she was a semi-finalist in the Women’s Singles event at the Latin American Championships, a quarter-finalist in Mexican colours in 2008 and in 2010, the top prize; the champion in her adopted country in the city of Cancun.

Furthermore, at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico, in August this year, she was in form, she reached the final of the Women’s Singles event, eventually losing to the Dominican Republic’s Wu Xue.

Target
"My target in this tournament was to try to play well and keep improving, I had a child in May 2009 so I didn't compete this year until the Latin American Championships in Cancun in March”, said Yadira Silva, who in 2008 had become Mexico’s first representative in the table tennis events at an Olympic Games.

Confident
“However, when the tournament started, I thought I could win against Zhang Mo and despite it was not my best match basically I won due to my service and my backhand control”, explained Yadira Silva, who is a right handed shakehands grip attacking player.

Different Story
A good start but against Yang Fen, whose skills were honed in China, it was a different story.

"In this match I could not read the service of Yang Feng and also her tempo didn't help”, continued Yadira Silva. “I'm not used to playing against players that play so soft; she is very different of other Asian born players.”

Found Rhythm
Defeat against an Asian born player and then she faced a second of Asian origin, New Zealand’s Karen Li.

"Finally in the third match I found myself playing real table tennis, I felt I was without rhythm in the first two, however in this one I really moved very well, I think this was the most important against the New Zealand player, who as plays half distance, that helped me to control the match”, continued Yadira Silva. “Unfortunately Zhang Mo lost to Yang Feng, so my chances to advance to the World Cup disappeared but I cannot be disappointed having won two matches in my first appearance".

Boost
Certainly, it is a boost for table tennis in Mexico and in Central America that Yadira Silva is present in Kuala Lumpur; alongside, Marcos Madrid who won the Men’s Singles event at the Central American and Caribbean Games in August this year, the two are setting new standards in Mexico.

"Since I became a mother last year I have only had the opportunity to compete in three events: Latin American Championships in March, where I won the Gold Medal, World Championships in Moscow and the Centro American and Caribbean Games in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico where I won the silver medal”, said Yadira Silva. “In Mayagüez it was an excellent result as I only lost to Wu Xue, I lost in four games but it was the first time she had lost a game in a singles match against a Latin American player since she gained Dominican Republic the nationality."

Certainly in Mayagüez, Yadira Silva was the only player to cause Wu Xue problems.

Private Sponsor
"Unfortunately, things have not changed much since winning the gold medal at Latin American Championships and if I want to practise in China or somewhere else I have to pay from my own expenses”, added Yadira Silva. “I have private sponsorship from CIGES, that my husband’s company which helps me with my travels and preparation".

The help is invaluable.

Hot Training Hall
"We live in Villahermosa, a city of 650,000 inhabitants in Tabasco State, in the south east of Mexico, I practise with my husband, who is also my coach, Roberto Madrigal, and we play in a small hall without air conditioning, the temperature is between 37 and 45 degrees all the time”, smiled Yadira Silva. “There is just room for one table tennis table; we practise on a concrete floor, no chance of a wooden floor!”

Nevertheless, Yadira Silva makes the most of what is available and in Kuala Lumpur brought great credit to Mexico, Central America and Latin America.