22 Nov 2018

Bronze medallist at the recent Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, on east coast of the continent he was the pride of the United States, on Thursday 22nd November on the west coast in Santiago, he was his country’s star performer, as a place in the final of the Men’s Team event at the 2018 ITTF Pan American Championships was secured.

He remained unbeaten in a three-two win against Chile, as the no.9 seeds, once again upset the order of merit; the host nation commenced play in the no.2 seeded position.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

After Nikhil Kumar and Nicholas Tio had beaten Gustavo Gomez and Juan Lamadrid in five games (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6) in the opening doubles contest to give the United States the ideal start, Kanak Jha accounted for Felipe Olivares (11-7, 11-7, 11-8) to extend the advantage.

Urged forward by local supporters, the Chileans mounted a spirited recovery; Juan Lamadrid beat Nikhil Kumar in five games (8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-13, 11-8) before Felipe Olivares overcame Nicholas Tio in four games (10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6) to level matters. A memorable recovery, it was not to be completed; Kanak Jha accounted for Gustavo Gomez (11-7, 11-6, 11-2) to end host nation aspirations.

In the final Brazil, the top seeds, await; the outfit the United States beat by three matches to one in their very first fixture of the tournament. Notably a contest in which Kanak Jha also remained unbeaten; on that occasion he overcame both Eric Jouti (11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 6-11, 11-1) and Thiago Monteiro (12-10, 11-8, 17-15).

Defeat for Brazil in the opening fixture but ever since that contest three matches to nil wins have been recorded. Selecting Eric Jouti, Humberto Manhani and Thiago Monteiro, no charity was spared against the no.5 seeds, Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, Italo Ibañez and Alejandro Toranzo. Yet another resounding win was posted.

Meanwhile, in the contests to decide fifth to eighth places, it was success for Argentina, the no.3 seeds and for Cuba, the no.8 seeds.

Represented once again by Jorge Campos, Livan Martinez and Andy Pereira, Cuba accounted for the no.6 seeds, Mexico by three matches to one; in a rather closer contest, Argentina’s Gaston Alto, Horacio Cifuentes and Nicolas Galvano secured a three-two win in opposition to the no.4 seeds, Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, Daniel Gonzalez and Ricardo Jimenez.

Notably for Puerto Rico, Brian Afanador beat both Nicolas Galvano (11-7, 11-9, 11-2) and Gaston Alto (11-7, 11-7, 11-6) but his efforts were to prove in vain; in the vital concluding match of the fixture Nicolas Galvano accounted for Ricardo Jimenez in a full distance five games duel.

Conversely for Cuba, Andy Pereira overcame both Dario Arce (11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5) and Ricardo Villa (11-5, 11-9, 11-2); his efforts were rewarded.

The six places decided in Santiago for the 2019 Pan America Games to be staged in Lima are now known; success for Argentina and Cuba means they qualify alongside Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and the United States.

2018 Pan American Championships Kanak Jha

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Day 6 - 2018 Pan America Championships