by Wade Townsend
When Team Europe and Team North America clashed it seemed to destined to be a close match. The No.2 and No.3 seeds butting heads in the second group match at the 2017 World Cadet Challenge should have had fireworks.
Instead North America dominated the court.
Spearheaded by Amy Wang and Rachel Sung, North America were fast out of the blocks and took a 2-0 lead without dropping a game.
Jamila Laurenti kept Europe’s alive with a nail biting 3-2 win over Joyce Xu, but that was the limit to Europes’ success.
Both Wang and Sung won their next two encounters with clean sheets.
Amy Wang was the 2014 World Hopes Challenge Champion and demonstrates the Hopes program’s ability to guide players on to the international stage. The World Cadet Challenge is the next step in fostering talent and she is clearly thriving.
It is a good sign for table tennis.
North America’s momentum is coming primarily from USA’s rise in the women’s game. The likes of Lily Zhang has led the way, showing you can be competitive on the international sporting scene while also maintaining a balanced academic life. When parents are looking at sports to get their children involved in, this ticks all the right boxes.
Table tennis could be knocking on the door of biggest franchise sports in the world. NBA, NFL, can we look forward to the NTTA?