by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Listed at no.137 on the February Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings; Leyla Gomez is one of two South American female players on duty in Asuncion who advanced to the second round of the Junior Girls’ Singles event last year.
The other is Argentina’s Camila Kaizoji; her progress was ended by Peru’s Janina Nieto.
Both are challengers for honours, as are Candela Perez, also from Argentina and Canada’s Isabelle Xiong; both have international experience but could it be that the trio comprising Beatrix Kimono, Livia Lima and Giula Takahashi could continue Brazilian dominance in the Junior Girls’ Singles event?
At an ITTF World Junior Circuit event in Paraguay, Brazil has always provided the winner. Bruna Takahashi won in 2015 beating Janina Nieto in the final; last year Alexia Nakashima accounted for colleague Leticia Nakada to arrest the title.
It is a tough ask, the Brazilians are all still in the cadet age group; Beatrix Kimono, Livia Lima are each 14 years of age, Giulia Takahashi is only 11 years old.
However, they are in form; at the immediately preceding 2017 South American Junior and Cadet Championships, they combined to win the Cadet Girls’ Team event in style.
Maintaining their country’s best tradition is the goal and perhaps there is an omen; when Bruna Takahashi won in 2015, she was only 14 years old.
A total of 40 girls will compete in Asuncion of which 31 will play in the Junior Girls’ Singles competition.