by Ian Marshall, Editor
Unquestionably, they are the players who, for well over a decade, have set the example for their colleagues to follow; now if one member of that group could reach the final in Guaynabo and thus book a place in the Liebherr 2019 Men’s World Cup to be staged later in the year in the Chinese city of Chengdu, it would be a massive boost for the sport of table tennis in their country.
It is for all three members of the group, finding that precious ingredient that enables challengers to become champions.
Notably, all have won significant titles in their respective regions of the world.
Marcelo Aguirre, on duty in the three most recent Olympic Games, having made his debut in Beijing in 2008, won the men’s singles title at the 2013 Latin American Championships in San Salvador.
Likewise, Marcos Madrid, present at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games claimed men’s singles gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayaguez in 2010, before last year regaining the title when the event was staged in Barranquilla.
Meanwhile, Alberto Miño is the reigning South American champion having won the men’s singles title on the most recent three editions of the tournament. He won in 2015 in Mendoza before retaining the title in 2016 in Medellin and in 2017 in Buenos Aires.
Furthermore, all have proved most worthy opponents in the Pan America Cup; last year in Asuncion, Marcelo Aguirre finished in fourth place, one year earlier Marcos Madrid was quarter-finalist in San José, whilst Alberto Miño reached the round of the last eight in both San José and Asuncion.
Of course, the man on whom eyes focus is Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the top seed and currently listed at no.6 on the men’s world ranking list; he is the clear favourite but favourites can fall.
Much water has flowed under the bridge in the past four years but in 2015 at the Latin America Cup, the predecessor of the Pan America Cup, he was beaten in four straight games at the quarter-final stage; his nemesis a certain Alberto Miño.