by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Advised by Marco Astudillo, listed at no.94 on the current Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, Nicolas Burgos is the leading name on duty in the Men’s Singles event at the forthcoming Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Latin American qualification tournament.
Proceedings in the three day event commence in the Dominican Republic capital city of Santo Domingo, on Friday 12th May.
He is very much a young man who has announced his arrival on the international scene this year; in March, he won the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the 2017 South American Junior and Cadet Championships in Asuncion, Paraguay.
It is a success which could just give the necessary degree of confidence to gain one of the two places available at the Latin American qualification tournament; it could well put him just one step ahead of his nearest rivals in Santo Domingo.
However, Marco Astudillo and Marcos Nuñez are no doubt well aware there is no room for complacency.
Peru’s Rodrigo Hidalgo is a name to note, he was a Junior Boys’ Singles semi-finalist at the 2017 South American Junior and Cadet Championships.
Likewise, Puerto Rico’s Francisco Matias is a major contender; currently he is based in Sweden and competed recently on the ITTF Challenge Series in Slovenia and Croatia. Life was tough against seasoned European opposition but it could prove the ideal preparation when required to facing less experienced Latin American adversaries.
Equally Panama’s Jacobo Vahnish, runner up earlier this year in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event at the Central American Junior and Cadet Championships in Guatemala could well influence the eventual outcome, as could El Salvador’s Oscar Villalta and Brazil’s Guilherme Teodoro.
At the Central American Junior and Cadet Championships, Oscar Villalta was the Junior Boys’ Singles silver medallist; at the recent Seamaster 2017 ITTF Challenge Brazil Open, Guilherme Teodoro advanced to the quarter-final round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event where Frenchman, Andrieu Landrieu, the champion elect, ended progress.
They complete the top six names in a tournament which follows the traditional Latin American structure. All players enter the first knock-out event; the winner qualifies. A second event on the same basis is organised, the winner qualifies; the runner up is the first reserve with the losing semi-finalists playing for the second and third reserve places.
Players (in alphabetical order): Nicolas Burgis (Chile), Benny Chung (Aruba), Guillermo Casio (Mexico), Rodrigo Hidalgo (Peru), Alejandro Larez (Venezuela), Mariano Lockward (Dominican Republic), Francisco Matias (Puerto Rico), Luc François Xavier O’Young (Trinidad and Tobago). Pablo Palou (Guatemala), Alfredo Sanchez (Costa Rica), Donika St-Fleur (Haiti), Guilherme Teodoro (Brazil), Alessio Tulloch (Jamaica), Jacobo Vahnish (Panama), Oscar Villalta (El Salvador).