02 Dec 2016

On the opening day they had come perilously close to causing an upset and securing top place in their group; a result that would have meant progress to the second group stage and would have kept medal hopes alive.

Alas for Argentina in the Boys’ Team event at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town, South Africa, it was agonising defeat for the trio comprising Martin Bentancor, Horacio Cifuentes and Francisco Sanchi. They experienced a three-two reverse against the United States outfit formed by Kanak Jha, Victor Liu and Jack Wang.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Two days later on Friday 2nd December, there was an element of consolation for Argentina. They finished the Boys’ Team event in 13th place, their seeded position in the competition, in what was a successful venture for Latin America but eventual disappointment for North America.

Similarly, in the Girls’ Team competition, Puerto Rico concluded their seeded position, having on the opening day finished in second place in their group and had thus not advanced to compete for a top 12 place.

In both finals in the fixtures to determine 13th position, it was Canada who experienced defeat.

A three-nil verdict was the outcome in favour of Argentina; Francisco Sanchi gave his team the perfect start by beating Jeremy Hazin (10-12, 11-9, 11-3, 7-11, 11-7), before Horacio Cifuentes overcame Jason Liu (11-5, 13-11, 11-8) and Martin Bentancor concluded matters with victory over Alexander Bu (11-8, 11-5, 13-11).

Meanwhile, for Puerto Rico it was a three-one success with, as in previous encounters, Adriana Diaz being the guiding hand.

She accounted for both Ivy Liao (11-4, 11-7, 13-11) and Alicia Cote (11-6, 11-3, 13-11). The one further win for the Caribbean island was recorded by Lineris Rivera in the opening match of the fixture, she beat Alicia Cote (11-8, 11-8, 11-9); for Canada, the one success came courtesy of Isabelle Xiong, in the third match of the engagement, she overcame Gabriela Diaz (11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10).

Success for Latin America and on the third morning of play there were also successes for Oceania and Africa.

 “I think our objective before the tournament was to improve our ranking, I think so far we have achieved that having won one match in the first stage and beating Australia; that was key to our rise in the ranking”, Hiba Feredj (Algeria)

Australia with Jake Duffy, Dominic Huang and Ben Gould on duty beat the Egyptian trio of Youssef Abdel-Aziz, Omar Elhamady and Mahmoud Helmy by three matches to one, to secure 15th place in the Boys’ Team event.

In the Girls’ Team competition, the Egyptian formation of Mariam Alhodaby, Amira Yousry and Sara Abousetta claimed the 15th position. They recorded a three-nil win against Algeria’s Hiba Feredj, Loubna Djedjik and Malissa Nasri.

“I think it has always been very difficult for African teams to play against some of these top teams because unlike African players, players from Europe and Asia feature in more competitions and they practice regularly. Taking part in competitions regularly is very important for players as this will help in their improvement, for us in Africa, this is lacking and we hope one-on-one in the singles, we hope we can spring surprises”, Mariam Alhoday (Egypt).

In the Boys’ Team event, Australia started proceedings as the no.17 seeds, Egypt the no.16 seeds; in the Girls’ Team competition, Egypt occupied the no.15 seeded position, Algeria, the no.17 spot

World Junior Championships Adriana Diaz Horacio Cifuentes Martin Bentancor Francisco Sanchi Gabriela Diaz Lineris Rivera

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