17 Apr 2021

Dramatic scenes, moments of high tension, on Friday 16th April in the Argentine city of Rosario at the 2021 Latin American Singles and Mixed Doubles Qualification tournament, it was no place for the faint-hearted.

An electric atmosphere in the Salon Metropolitano, the host nation’s Gaston Alto, Ecuador’s Albert Miño and Cuba’s Daniela Fonseca Carrazana responded, they booked Tokyo 2020 places.

by Ian Marshall

Moreover, for all three players, it is a major career milestone, a first-ever appearance at the Olympic Games!

Albert Miño

Willpower, a strong mind; there is nobody in that department better than Alberto Miño. After recording a quarter-final men’s singles success in opposition to Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez (11-11, 11-9, 11-1, 9-11, 11-6), sensationally he recovered from a three games to one deficit against Jorge Campos, saving match points in the sixth and seventh games, before emerging successful (11-2, 5-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 12-10).

Success for the 30-year-old from Guayaquil means that he becomes the first-ever male athlete from Ecuador and only the second overall to qualify for the table tennis events at an Olympic Games. The only other is Patricia Cabrera who competed in the women’s singles in 1992 in Barcelona!

Daniela Fonseca Carrazana

Similarly, it was tense times for Daniela Fonseca Carrazana; on the fourth day of play, just one Tokyo place was available in the women’s singles event as opposed to two for the men.

Following success against the Dominican Republic’s Esmerlyn Castro (11-1, 13-15, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6), in a full distance contest she accounted for Guatemala’s Mabelyn Enriquez (7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 4-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-7), before in the final recovering from a two games to nil deficit to eventually gain success by an even closer margin when facing Mexico’s Yadira Silva. She succeeded in seven games (7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10) over a player aiming for a fourth Olympic Games appearance.

Emotional moments for Daniela Fonseca Carrazana; she becomes the third Cuban table tennis player to gain a women’s singles place at an Olympic Games. Maricel Ramirez competed in 1992 in Barcelona and in 2000 in Sydney; Yolanda Rodriguez was also on duty in Barcelona.

Gaston Alto

Recoveries by Alberto Miño and Daniela Fonseca Carrazana; in the men’s singles event it was no different for Gaston Alto. At the quarter-final stage he fought back from a two games to one deficit to beat Mexico’s Marcos Madrid (7-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8, 11-3). Later, he did exactly the same in opposition to the Dominican Republic’s Wu Jiaji (14-12, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6), to reserve his Tokyo place.

Notably, one round earlier Wu Jiaji had ousted Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre (12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 17-15), like Yadira Silva, a player aiming for a fourth consecutive Olympic Games appearance.

Mission accomplished by Gaston Alto means he joins colleague Horacio Cifuentes, who qualified two days earlier in Rosario, in Tokyo; thus, they double the numbers of Argentine players who have competed in the men’s singles table tennis events at an Olympic Games.

Liu Song played in 2000 in Sydney and 2012 London; Pablo Tabachnik, the man sitting courtside in the role of coach in Rosario, in 2004 in Athens and four years later in Beijing.

Play concludes in Rosario on Saturday 17th April with the mixed doubles, one place for Tokyo is available.

General News Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Alberto Miño Gaston Alto Daniela Fonseca Carrazana

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