by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Understandably, neither could match the achievement of Monica Puig who created another first for the Caribbean island, by becoming their first ever Olympic Games gold medallist when she succeeded in the tennis arena.
More to Follow
A series of recent firsts and there is one more already assured and one more in the offing. At the 2016 El Salvador Junior and Cadet Open which begins in the country’s capital city of San Salvador on Thursday 25th August, Puerto Rico’s Yomar Gonzalez is in first place, he the top seed in the Junior Boys’ Singles event.
The long term task for the 18 year old is to be alongside Brian Afanador at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games; the more immediate goal is to become the first Puerto Rican to win an ITTF World Junior Boys’ Singles title.
Panam Junior Championships
Most certainly, the signs would appear to be very positive, especially when the results of the Panam Junior Championships held earlier this year in Burnaby, Canada are taken into consideration.
In the Junior Boys’ Team event, he lost just one match, in the first stage of proceedings he was beat by Ricardo Villa in the contest against Mexico; pertinently, in the ensuing Junior Boys’ Singles competition he beat Ricardo Villa prior to experiencing a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Kanak Jha from the United States.
Furthermore, in Burnaby he did win a title; he partnered Adriana Diaz to Mixed Doubles gold.
Junior Boys’ Team Event
Realistic title chances for Yomar Gonzalez in the Junior Boys’ Singles event; it is the very same in the Junior Boys’ Team competition where he partners colleague, Sebastian Echevarria, the eighth highest rated male player on duty.
They are the second seeds behind the combination of Brazil’s Siddharta Almeida and Aaron Wilson from Trinidad and Tobago. Notably they are also the major rivals for Yomar Gonzalez in the Junior Boys’ Singles competition; Siddharta Almeida is the no.2 seed, Aaron Wilson is the no.3 seed.
Likewise, there is also a challenge from Sweden; Oskar Danielsson and Hannes Iwarsson are the next highest rated players on duty, combining in the Junior Boys’ Team event to form the third seeded pairing.
Notably, last year Oskar Danielsson reached the semi-final stage of the Junior Boys’ Singles event in Mauritius; Hannes Iwarsson progressed to the last eight in both Mauritius and in Jordan.
It is a chance for the Swedes to make their presence felt, as it is for two further names of note; Francisco Matias, like Yomar Gonzalez and Sebastian Echevarria from Puerto Rico, is the no.6 seed, Ecuador’s Bryan Escobar is the no.7 seed.
In the Junior Boys’ Team event Francisco Matias partners colleague Gabriel Perez; they occupy the no.4 seeded spot; Bryan Escobar joins forces with Paraguay’s Elias Apud, they are the top seeds in the Cadet Boys’ Team competition.
Team Events Commence Play
Play commences with the team events; the doubles events begin on Friday 26th August, the singles competitions on Saturday 27th August.
Thursday 25th August: Junior Boys’ Team – Stage One
Thursday 25th August: Junior Girls’ Team – Stage One
Thursday 25th August: Cadet Boys’ Team – Stage One
Thursday 25th August: Cadet Girls’ Team – Stage One
Saturday 27th August: Junior Boys’ Singles – Stage One
Saturday 27th August: Junior Girls’ Singles – Stage One
Saturday 27th August: Cadet Boys’ Singles – Stage One
Saturday 27th August: Cadet Girls’ Singles – Stage One
Saturday 27th August: Hopes Boys’ Singles – Stage One
Saturday 27th August: Hopes Girls’ Singles – Stage One