06 Aug 2019

A return to the schedule; not held since 1995 when the multi-sport gathering was staged in Mar del Plata, on Monday 5th August, Canada’s Eugene Wang and Zhang Mo secured mixed doubles gold, the first title to be decided in the table tennis events at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

The result a minor surprise, they commenced play the no.4 seeds.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

After accounting for the United States top seeded pairing of Kanak Jha and Wu Yue (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6), they secured the top step of the podium by overcoming Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi and Bruna Takahashi, the no.3 seeds (12-10, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10). Earlier in the penultimate round, the Brazilians had ousted Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador and Adriana Diaz, the no.2 seeds (7-11, 13-11, 15-13, 11-9, 11-7).

Gold for Eugene Wang and Zhang Mo meant that tradition was maintained; always when the mixed doubles event has been held at a Pan American Games it has been claimed by a pair from North America.

Gustavo Tsuboi (left) and (right) Bruna Takahashi, mixed doubles silver medallist (Photo: Lima 2019)


Canada’s Alex Polisios and Mariann Domonkos won in the inaugural edition in 1979 in San Juan; in 1995 the husband and wife team of Horatio Pintea and Geng Lijuan reserved the top prize. Meanwhile, for the United States, Sean O’Neill partnered Insook Bhushan to success in 1983, before in 1991 repeating the feat in Havana in harness with Diana Gee. Sean O’Neill, twice a winner, it is the same for Insook Bhushan, sandwiched in between in 1987 in Indianapolis she emerged victorious when partnering Khoa Nguyen.

Top seeded pairs reach final

Semi-final defeats for the top two seeded pairs in the mixed doubles event; not in the men’s doubles nor in the women’s doubles competitions.

In the penultimate round of the men’s doubles event, Gustavo Tsuboi and Brazilian colleague, Hugo Calderano, the top seeds, beat Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador and Daniel Gonzalez, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 14-12); Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes, the no.2 seeds, ended the hopes of the Dominican Republic’s Emil Santos and Wu Jiaji, the no.11 seeds (11-9, 11-13, 7-11, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5).

Gaston Alto (nearest camera) and Horacio Cifuentes through to the men’s doubles final (Photo: Lima 2019)


Similarly, in the women’s doubles competition, the United States top seeded combination of Wu Yue and Lily Zhang reserved their place in the final courtesy of success in opposition Zhang Mo and Canadian colleague, Alicia Cote, the no.3 seeds (11-3, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2, 12-10). Not to be overshadowed, Adriana Diaz alongside elder sister Melanie, beat Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi and Jessica Yamada (11-7, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6) to reserve their place at the top table.

Opening round success for leading names

Meanwhile, in the men’s singles event, the leading names required to compete in the opening round, enjoyed success. Kanak Jha of the United States, the no.3 seed, beat Jose You of Honduras, the no.28 seed (11-6, 11-3, 11-6, 11-9), Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.4 seed, ousted Guatemala’s Heber Moscoso (11-4, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2).

Francesca Vargas beaten by Lily Zhang (Photo: Lima 2019)


Likewise, in the women’s singles event, Wu Yue the no.3 seed, overcame Ecuador’s Mylena Plaza, the no.26 seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9); Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.4 seed, prevailed in opposition to Peru’s Francesca Vargas, the no.28 seed (11-1, 11-4, 11-2, 11-6).

Higher rated stumble

Outcomes as expected but there were defeats for the higher rated player; in the men’s singles event the nation to suffer being Cuba. Andy Pereira, the no.15 seed, was beaten by Eugene Wang, the no.20 seed (10-12, 12-10, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-9), Jorge Campos, the no.16 seed, lost to Wu Jiaji, the no.24 seed (11-4, 4-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8). Success for Wu Jiaji contrary to status, for his doubles partner, Emil Santos, it was the opposite scenario. The no.11 seed, he suffered at the hands of Nikhil Kumar of the United States, the no.18 seed (11-5, 10-12, 11-2, 3-11, 14-12, 11-4).

An inspired Neridee Niño successfully negotiated the opening round of the women’s singles event (Photo: Lima 2019)


Also, in the first round of the women’s singles event there were upsets. The Dominican Republic’s Yasiris Ortiz, the no.19 seed, beat Chile’s Daniela Ortega, the no.9 seed (12-10, 11-4, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 14-12); Cuba’s Idalys Lovat, the no.17 seed, ousted Guatemala’s Mabelyn Enriquez (11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8). Notable wins, it was the same for Venezuela’s Neridee Niño; the no.29 seed, she accounted for Alicia Cote, the no.11 seed (16-14, 9-11, 7-11, 14-12, 11-3, 11-9).

Play continues in the men’s singles and women’s singles events on Wednesday 14th August when the second round and quarter-finals will be completed. The day will conclude with the finals of the men’s doubles and mixed doubles events.

2019 Pan American Games Zhang Mo Eugene Wang

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Day 5 - 2019 Pan American Games