23 Nov 2019

Familiar faces, significant numbers of those present at the 2019 Copa Tango in Buenos Aires are making a return visit to one of the most well-established tournaments on the Para calendar.

However, on Thursday 21st November, the winner of the junior event was not a familiar face; it was a newcomer. Malaysia’s Chee Chao Ming emerged the champion.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Gold medallist earlier this year in class 9 in Thailand at the Bangkok Para Open; in the one event held on the opening day of action in Buenos Aires, a men’s singles class 6-10 competition , Chee Chao Ming excelled.

He finished in first place in his group ahead of Chile’s Vicente Alvarez and Uruguay’s Diego Boye.
Safely through to the main draw, he accounted for Costa’s Rica’s Steven Roman, the no.3 seed (11-4, 12-10, 4-11, 11-8) prior to securing the title at the final expense of Chile’s Manuel Echaveguren, the no.2 seed (13-11, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8).

“Manuel proved a great opponent but I was well prepared for the match and was able to win according to the game-plan I designed. In games two and three I lost focus a little bit but luckily I was able to quickly come out of those moments and recover in time. I really wanted to be the champion here.” Chee Chao Ming

Understandably, a delighted Chee Chao Ming and delighted to be in the South American country.

“I entered the competition as part of my road to Tokyo 2020. To qualify for the next Paralympic Games is my main goal. For this event, I hope to keep improving and playing better. I always go for the gold medal, I’m a positive player that always aims to his best.” Chee Chao Ming

Manuel Echaveguren beaten in the final by Chee Chao Ming (Photo: Ariel Popiolek)
Long journey

A first appearance in Argentina for Chee Chao Ming, it was the same for New Zealand’s Matthew Ryan Britz. He had travelled some 6,500 miles to compete in Buenos Aires! Alas he did not enjoy the same fortune as Chee Chao Ming, he finished in third place in his group behind Argentina’s Aleksy Kaniuka and Steven Roman.

“It was a challenge, it was an interesting experience and I’m grateful to the people from Argentina, everyone has been very kind to me. I have already made some new friends. I have never played in a junior competition in this category before and I’m feeling very good. I’m here to gain experience. Of course everyone plays to win but I came for the possibility of playing matches against players from all over the world. My goal is to play.” Matthew Ryan Britz

It is a learning curve for the New Zealander, who is accompanied by his father; now an even greater challenge awaits, the senior tournament.

“It won’t be easy at all, I know that. I will have to control my emotions and play one match at the time, seeing and evaluating my performance. My father, he’s such a great teammate, a partner and he gives me a great boost; his presence is always a positive feature.” Matthew Ryan Britz

A learning experience for Matthew Ryan Britz (Photo: Ariel Popiolek)
Aleksey Kaniuka

Third place for Matthew Ryan Britz in the group stage but success against Chile’s Sebastian Neira (11-2, 11-2, 11-2) was no mean performance; the player in form being Aleksy Kaniuka. After remaining unbeaten in the group he recorded a quarter-final win against Chile’s Vicente Alvarez (11-6, 11-3, 11-6), prior to losing to Manuel Echaveguren (11-4, 11-6, 11-8).

“I’m very happy. I got a big win over Sebastian Neira, who won a silver medal in class 8 at Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, he’s less disabled than I am. I had some tough wins as well, even in quarter-final. In the semi-final Manuel had the upper hand, so everything is positive anyway.” Aleksy Kaniuka

Similar, to Matthew Ryan Britz, Aleksy Kaniuka now looks forward to the senior tournament.

“This junior event is a great warm up for the senior competition ‪starting this Friday‬. Some great players have come to Argentina from many countries, so I’m eager to face them and see how far I can make it. I’m going to face better players than me on the first round pool but I’m confident I can keep playing at this level and do well.” Aleksy Kaniuka

Aware of the value of the junior tournament, Aleksy Kaniuka is also well aware of the value of the whole tournament.

“The Copa Tango is a very important event for Argentina; it’s a great pleasure as part of the host country to welcome players from all over the world and even more when we have many of them like in this edition. Athletes from Asia, Europe and fellow Latin American countries are here. For our new players, to be able to face rivals from Korea or Japan it’s both unforgettable and very productive.” Aleksy Kaniuka

Play in the three day Copa Tango starts on Friday 22nd November.

Aleksy Kaniuka well aware of the value of the Copa Tango (Photo: Ioan Nechita)


2019 Copa Tango: Latest Results from Buenos Aires

Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2019 Copa Tango Chee Chao Ming

No results found.