by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The win meant that Paulina Vega was the one player from Latin America to reach the semi-final stage and thus for the first time in her career she reserved a place in the prestigious Women’s World Cup.
“I am so happy; it is like a dream for me to represent my country and all of Latin America in the Women’s World Cup. I have the chance to compete against the best players in the world. In San José, I had a great tournament. I felt very comfortable, I was thinking clearly, planning step by step and I had good support from the crowd.” Paulina Vega.
Success for Paulina Vega means that she becomes only the second ever player from Chile to qualify for the Women’s World Cup. Compatriot and team mate Berta Rodriguez competed in 2001 in Wuhu, the following year in Singapore and in 2009 in Guangzhou.
A first for Paulina Vega but she is no stranger to the big time, she represented Chile in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Furthermore, she is well adjusted to the heat of battle; presently she spends most of her time in Europe where the competition is more intense that in her native Chile.
“Right now I am playing in the first league in Spain for Covicsa Santa Eulalia. I have been living in Javea, Valencia for one month. I am really enjoying my time in Spain. I am able to practise with good players and good friends like Sara Ramírez and with male players who play in the Second League in Spain. Also I have the chance to have many multi-ball sessions with coaches like Stephane Tradori and Rafa Ramírez; certainly I am really enjoying my time in Spain.” Paulina Vega.
Preparing in a most professional manner, one has to admire Paulina Vega for her outstanding spirit and determined approach.
She has experienced disappointments; the one that is embedded in my memory is when losing to Venezuela’s Fabiola Ramos at the Latin America 2012 London Olympic Games Qualification tournament in Rio de Janeiro. She was beaten by the minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game; it meant that a visit to England’s capital city was denied.
Disappointment to her great credit Paulina Vega responded. She looked forward to next challenge; the place in Markham is well merited. The attitude displayed by the now 33 year old is an example to all.
“I feel I am now at my best. I am happy playing and I am happy with my physical training. I think my service is one of my strengths. I practise to be the best player I can be, I enjoy every moment of the sport.” Paulina Vega
A testing time awaits but it is an opportunity and Paulina Vega may well hope that alphabetical order prevails; Chile is always one place ahead of China.