27 Sep 2017

Six days of intense action in Asuncion, Paraguay came to close on Saturday 23rd September as the Challenge Tournament signalled the conclusion of the 2017 Latin American Hopes Week.

Brazil’s Leonardo Iizuka and Puerto Rico’s Kristal Melendez emerged as the respective Boys’ Singles and Girls’ Singles winners.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In the final Leonardo Iizuka beat the Dominican Republic’s Ramón Vila (11-4, 11-2, 9-11, 11-3), after at the semi-final stage having accounted for Guatemala’s Ricardo Gatica (11-4, 11-5, 11-7).

Impressive from Leonardo Iizuka, it was theme from Kristal Melendez. She overcame Chile’s Maria Ignacia Valenzuela (11-3, 11-4, 11-7) in the penultimate round prior to securing the title at the final expense of Ecuador’s Angelica Arellano (14-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8).

“It was all very good, but it was a lot of work, especially the physical part. In the final after the second game I became tense, somewhat nervous.” Kristal Melendez

“During the week I managed to train well; my concentration was good today.” Leonardo Iizuka

Delighted players and there were also delighted coaches; Canada’s Maxime Surprenant had been the head coach with Guatemala’s Milton Catalan his chief assistant.

“I really feel very satisfied, we achieved our goals; today in the players you could see anxiety and nerves, quite usual.” Milton Garcia

“I liked the reaction of the players today; they were fighting so hard, they are playing with a lot of courage and showing everything they did in the training; now they have gained experience as the way to respond in matches. We must remember they are all very young; only 11 years old. I came here as a is a very young coach, from the first day everyone was serious; here we had a great team, it’s been a tremendous experience.” Maxime Surprenant

The Latin American Hopes Week immediately preceded the 2017 Latin American Under 11 and Under 13 Championships which commenced on Monday 25th September in Asuncion.

2017 Latin American Hopes Week: Challenge – Full Results (Saturday 23rd September)

High Performance and Development Athletes Leonardo Iizuka Kristal Melendez