by Ian Marshall, Editor
Kanak Jha of the United States, 19 years old, secured men’s singles bronze; only 21 years of age, Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes and the one year older Brian Afanador from the host nation reached the quarter-finals.
Likewise, in the women’s singles, Brazil’s 19 year old Bruna Takahashi advanced to the last eight; Lily Zhang of the United States, 23 years of age finished the runner up losing to Puerto Rico’s national heroine, 19 years old Adriana Diaz, in a final of breathtaking quality.
Also remember Hugo Calderano, the men’s singles winner is only 23 years of age; however, it was his colleague, Gustavo Tsuboi who attracted the attention time and again, as the now 34 year old fought his way to the final.
One year ago when, at the semi-final stage losing to Kanak Jha, Gustavo Tsuboi had explained that the fighting spirit was not there; one year later it was there in abundance. After accounting for Ecuador’s Alberto Miño in the quarter-finals in a tense seven games duel (11-6, 10-12, 2-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6), he repeated the feat in the penultimate round. He beat Kanak Jha (11-9, 11-6, 10-12, 4-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-9) and thus avenged the defeat of one year earlier.
The win meant that Gustavo Tsuboi maintained his record of gaining a place on the medal podium in every ITTF-Pan America Cup. In 2017 in San José, Costa Rica, the inaugural edition, he emerged the winner. The following year he was the runner up in the Paraguayan capital city of Asuncion, before last year having to settle from third place.
Hallmark of career
Fighting spirit but always impeccably behaved, resolve and determination have been the hallmarks of a player who is no stranger to competing in the big events; he provides an example for the next generation.
Memorably, in 2011 he won the Intercontinental Cup in Paris, in those days part of the Men’s World Cup; the significant point is that he succeeded when tension mounted and there was no room for error. Four players competing in a group, he finished ahead of Australia’s William Henzell and Egypt’s Ahmed Ali Saleh on games ratio. Canada’s Pradeeban Peter-Paul finished in fourth postion.
Fast forward to 2015 and the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in Halmstad, he completed the initial phase in first place in his group ahead of Egypt’s Omar Assar and Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia. He secured first position on not games ratio but points ratio!
At the CCB 2020 ITTF Pan America Cup, the fighting spirit was back, he set the example and don’t forget, Gustavo Tsuboi was once a promising young player. In the first year of the ITTF World Junior Circuit, in 2002, he won the junior boys’ singles title in Peru.