Global Junior Programme News are presented by:
Joola and Butterfly
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Proceedings End in Cartagena da Indias with the Dominican Republic the Leading Nation

The Dominican Republic ended proceedings as the most successful country on duty in the table tennis events at the Central American and Caribbean Games when play concluded on Saturday 29th July 2006. They won a total of five gold and two silver medals with their leading player, Lin Ju drawing down the curtain on the entertainment with a six games victory over Trinidad and Tobago’s Dexter St Louis.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Singles final, scheduled to precede to Men’s Singles final, never materialised. Qian Lian withdrew through illness thus handing the title to Wu Xue.
Lin Ju, the Men's Singles champion at the Central American and Caribbean Games
Meanwhile, the Women’s Singles final, scheduled to precede to Men’s Singles final, never materialised. Qian Lian withdrew through illness thus handing the title to Wu Xue.

On the opening day of competition, in the Men’s Team event, Lin Ju had lost to Dexter St. Louis but on the final day he gained revenge and levelled matters at two-all in their four career encounters.

Lin Ju won 12-10, 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-13, 11-2.

“It was difficult to receive his service”, explained Lin Ju. “He was clever, he kept changing the length of the service; it caused me problems.” Dexter St Louis predominantly used the reverse forehand service, a service not popular in Asia and little used by players who hail from that part of the world, as does Lin Ju.

“I had to be careful when defending with the backhand” continued Lin Ju, the problem for the man from the Dominican Republic being that Dexter St Louis is left handed, his strong forehand topspin naturally travels into the backhand of Lin Ju. The backhand is the side of the racket which has long pimples and the side of the racket that Lin Ju uses to return the ball with heavy backspin.

“In order to beat him I had to use my forehand topspin as much as possible”, explained Lin Ju. “I’d lost on the opening day because I’d defended too much on the backhand.”

At the penultimate stage of the Men’s Singles event Lin Ju, despite suffering from a small neck strain, beat Cuba’s Dimeys Gongora 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 whilst Dexter St Louis overcame Guatemala’s José Ramírez 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8. The reverse for the Guatemalan was his only singles’ defeat in the whole tournament, the other unbeaten men when play started on the final day, Cuba’s Pavel Oxamendy and Andy Pereira, had lost in the quarters.

Pavel Oxamendi had been beaten by Ramírez whilst Andy Pereira had lost to Dimeys Gongora.

Perfect Record
The only player, therefore, to complete the week with a one hundred per cent singles record was Wu Xue. In fact she never lost a Women’s Doubles or Mixed Doubles match!

At the semi-final stage she beat Venezuela’s Fabiola Ramos11-3, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 whilst at the same stage Qian Lian overcame Iizzwa Medina of Honduras 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8. It was for Fabiola Ramos a tough experience, the penhold grip attacking style of Wu Xue not to her liking. Meanwhile, for Iizzwa Medina she played with much more freedom than in her quarter-final encounter and gave arguably her best performance of the week. She extended Qian Lian to six games with the greater consistency of latter the telling factor.

It was success for the Dominican Republic and for their most successful player ever in the history of the competition, Juan Víla, he sang the national anthem with pride his words in true patriotic style summed up the week’s proceedings: . “Viva la Republica Dominicana”
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