by Ian Marshall, Editor
Ever since as a 14 year old when winning the junior girls’ singles title at the Canadian Junior and Cadet Open, Zhang Mo, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Thursday 17th January, has been at the forefront of her country’s efforts; her performances to a great extent overshadowing those of her male counterparts.
Most notably at the 2011 Pan American Games she won women’s singles gold, achieving a feat that to this day has proved beyond any Latin American based player, she beat the Dominican Republic’s Wue Xue to secure the top prize.
At the Commonwealth events, Zhang Mo has enjoyed notable success but last year at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, she experienced agony; in the women’s singles event she finished in fourth place, the most heartbreaking of all, just one short of a medal. She was beaten in the bronze medal contest by Singapore’s Feng Tianwei.
Aiming to retain the title won last year, setting aside the Gold Coast disappointment are no doubt two highly motivating factors for Zhang Mo in Guaynabo but may I suggest there is a third which outweighs all others.
Two months ago at the ITTF 2019 Pan American Championships in Santiago, in the women’s team event, she remained unbeaten, guiding Canada to bronze; notable at the quarter-final stage against Puerto Rico, she beat Adriana Diaz.
Later in the women’s singles final, the result was reversed, Zhang Mo had to settle for the silver medal; now for Zhang Mo avenging that defeat is a major challenge and even greater challenge with Adriana Diaz being on home soil.