by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Led by Matias Guadalupe with Luciano Alto, Matias Velarde and Christian Azoaga on duty, Argentina heads the Boys’ Team seeding.
Matias Guadalupe has been a familiar face in this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit competing in Belgium, Paraguay, Poland and Spain as well as in Argentina. Likewise, Luciano Alto was present on home soil and in Paraguay. Also he competed in the ITTF Challenge Seamaster Chile Open and the Pan American Junior Championships.
Similarly, Matias Velarde was present in Paraguay, a tournament in which he excelled; he reached the Cadet Boys’ Singles final, losing the Kenzo Carmo. In Guatemala, Kenzo Carmo leads the Brazilian challenge.
Names to note, it is the same with regards to the players who lead the next two outfits in the Boys’ Team event. Jacobo Vahnish heads the Panama line-up, Dario Arce is the principal name in the Mexican Team.
Impressively on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit, Jacobo Vahnish reached the quarter-final round of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event in both China and Jordan, whilst just falling one step short at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in the Dominican Republic.
In Guatemala, he has a debt to settle; earlier in the year at the Central American Junior and Cadet Championships, he was beaten in the final by Dario Arce.
Meanwhile, in Girls’ Team event, Chile led by Valentina Rios with Claudia Infante, Jerusalen Flores and Mariam Ruiz in support, occupy the top seeded position.
Valentina Rios is very much the name of which to be aware; earlier this year she was the runner up in the Cadet Girls’ Singles event at the South American Junior and Cadet Championships, before excelling expectations to win the Under 21 Women’s Singles title at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Chile Open in Santiago.
Notably at South American Junior and Cadet Championships, her nemesis was Brazil’s Livia Lima; alongside Beatrix Kimoto she appears in the individual events but not in the team competition.
Chile, the top seeds in the Girls’ Team event, next on the list is Ecuador followed by El Salvador. Mylena Plaza, a Cadet Girls’ Singles quarter-finalist at the South American Junior and Cadet Championships, leads Ecuador; Monica Medoza, who reached the same stage at the Central American Junior and Cadet Championships, heads the El Salvador challenge.
A total of 52 boys and 46 girls will compete in seven events – Boys’ Team, Girls’ Team, Boys’ Singles, Girls’ Singles, Boys’ Doubles, Girls’ Doubles, Mixed Doubles – in Guatemala City.