13 May 2021

Places available for the Cali 2021 Pan American Junior Games to be held later in September up for grabs, on the first day of play, Wednesday 12th May, at the qualification tournament in the Costa Rican capital city of San José, two positions in each of the men’s singles and women’s singles events were decided.

by Ian Marshall

In the former, Peru’s Rodrigo Hidalgo and Panama’s Jacobo Vahnish prevailed. Meanwhile, in the latter it was success for Maria Maldonado, also from Peru, and Costa Rica’s Sharon Diaz.

A tournament for players under 21 years of age, born in 2000 or later, the event is for those who had not yet qualified through prior regional tournaments; moreover, a National Olympic Committee is only allowed a maximum of two players in the individual events.

Proceedings organised on the knock-out principle but the final not played, there were some tense moments, especially for Jacobo Vahnish and Maria Maldonado.

After accounting for Venezuela’s Luis Vanegas (12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7), Jacobo Vahnish needed the full seven games to overcome ice-cool Peruvian Felipe Duffoo (11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8).

Similarly, following success against Panama’s Lia Rodriguez (11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6), Maria Maldonado was extended the full distance by Camila Obando (11-9, 5-11, 4-11, 11-6, 6-11, 16-14, 11-8).

Maria Maldonado stands strong in face of adversity (Photo courtesy of organising committee)

Testing times, for Rodrigo Hidalgo and Sharon Diaz, life was slightly less exacting.

Rodrigo Hidalgo accounted for Panama’s Emilio Wong (11-3, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7) prior to overcoming Venezuela’s Cesar Castillo (7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3, 11-8) to reserve his Cali place.

Success in five games to claim a ticket to Cali, for Sharon Diaz it was one game more; in the decisive contest she beat Peru’s Ana Aragon (5-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).

Two more places in each of the men’s singles and women’s singles events will be contested on Thursday 13th May.

General News Jacobo Vahnish Maria Maldonado

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