23 May 2019

Located in the south central region of Ecuador, some 2,555 metres above sea level, the beautiful city of Cuenca, known for its architecture, paintings, sculpture, poets, musicians and culture in general was the home for the 2019 South American Hopes Week and Challenge.

Organised under the auspices of ITTF High Performance and Development, in conjunction with the Ecuador Table Tennis Federation, proceedings commenced on Monday 13th May and concluded on Monday 20th May.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A total of 12 players aged 10 and 11 years attended, in addition to Ecuador the national associations of Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Uruguay were represented; the head coach was Ecuador’s Rafael Armendariz.

Thanks to the efforts of all concerned a most successful initiative was concluded, the accommodation and playing facilities met with the approval of all. Notably coaches exchanged ideas, the focus being very much directed towards improving the technical skills of the young players; footwork and consistency were high on the agenda.

Overall there was a most positive response, notably Peru’s José “Pepe” Perales and Brazil’s Julia Hatakeyama, alongside Colombia’s Jorge Gallego, all stated very clearly that they believed the week had been one of high value.

“I am very proud to have received such a high appointment by ITTF High Performance and Development, I am very well aware of the need to develop the skills of the future stars of South America and world table tennis.” Rafael Armendariz

The Challenge tournament in progress (Photo: courtesy of Rafael Armendariz)


Intense training, a highly competitive Challenge tournament concluded matters. Play organised on a group basis, in each event numbers limited to one entrant per national association, seven players in the boys’ singles event, four in the girls, Colombia’s Sebastian Bedoya and Ecuador’s Maybelline Menendes emerged the respective winners.

Both remained unbeaten, in the crucial contests to determine first place, Sebastian Bedoya beat Chile’s Jorge Garcia (11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4), Maybelline Menendes overs Peru’s Noelia Colque (11-6, 11-5, 11-5). It was for the defeated their only loss, thus runners up spot was the end result.

All four players qualify for the Latin American Hopes Week and Challenge to be held later in the year; the remaining places will be filled by the winners of the under 11 events as the South American Under 11 and Under 13 Championships which commenced in Cuenca on Wednesday 22nd May.

Rafael Armendariz with the players who have qualified for the Latin American Hopes Week (Photo: courtesy of Rafael Armendariz)
High Performance and Development Coaching Rafael Armendariz