// Leonardo Kenzo and Sarah Jalli, crowned champions in Santo Domingo - International Table Tennis Federation


21 Sep 2021

Success for the favourite, success for a qualifier; such was the outcome in the under 15 age group at the 2021 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on Saturday 18th September.

Brazil’s Leonardo Kenzo, the top seed, emerged the boys’ singles winner; Sarah Jalli of the United States, a player with no current world ranking, new to the international scene, secured the girls’ singles title.

by Ian Marshall

Moreover, both impressed; on the concluding day of action, neither needed to experience the agony of a deciding fifth game.

After accounting for the Dominican Republic’s surprise semi-finalist, qualifier Eduardo Darley (11-5, 11-3, 11-8), Leonardo Kenzo overcame Puerto Rico’s Derek Valentin, the no.4 seed, to arrest the title (12-10, 11-2, 12-10).

A most worthy win against the Puerto Rican, Derek Valentin was a player in form; in the penultimate round he had ousted Nandan Naresh of the United States, the no.2 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-8).

The win recorded by Derek Valentin had an added significance; it was to mean the United States did not complete a clean sweep of under 15 titles, it was the only gold to prove elusive.

Overcame top names

Most impressive from Leonardo Kenzo, it was the same from Sarah Jalli in an event where the United States provided all four semi-finalists.

Significantly, Sarah Jalli ended the hopes of the top names; at the semi-final stage she beat Faith Hu, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-9), in the final Emily Tan, the top seed (9-11, 11-4, 13-11, 11-4).

In the opposite half of the draw, Emily Tan had overcome Sally Moyland, like Sarah Jalli, a qualifier (11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9).

More gold

Gold for the United States, in the under 15 age group there was more gold, Sarah Jalli falling just one step short of a full house.

She partnered Sally Moyland to girls’ doubles success against Canada’s Demi Cai and Fu Ching Nam (11-9, 11-9, 11-8) but in the mixed doubles, in harness with Nandan Naresh, had to settle for silver.

In the final they experienced defeat at the hands of colleagues, Daniel Tran and Sally Moyland (11-8, 11-3, 11-8).

The top step of the podium for Daniel Tran; it was the same in the boys’ doubles; in the final he partnered Nandan Naresh to success against Derek Valentin and Puerto Rican colleague, José Nieves (11-9, 11-7, 12-10).

Notably in the under 15 events the girls outnumbered the boys, 34 girls, 20 boys.

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