06 Nov 2021

Digging deep into the memory bank and the record books; unless there are artefacts stored in cellars never unearthed, on Friday 5th November it was a first for Mexico, their first ever title at an open international tournament organised under the auspices of the International Table Tennis Federation.

At the 2021 ITTF Ecuador International Open in Cuenca, Juan Jesus Gomez and Arantxa Cossio emerged the mixed doubles champions.

by Ian Marshall

Moreover, not only did Mexico provide the winners, also they spawned the runners up!

Juan Jesus Gomez and Arantxa Cossio overcame colleagues Dario Arce and Clio Barcenas (11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5) to arrest the title in what was a repeat of the final earlier this year in April, when the end result had been the same at the Central American Youth Championships in Guatemala.

Perhaps they learnt from that encounter; on that occasion the verdict had been decided by the very narrowest of margins (11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10).

Dario Arce and Clio Barcenas, once again runners up (Photo: courtesy of the Ecuador Table Tennis Federation)


Many years ahead

Good news for Mexico, all four have surely many years to come. Dario Arce and Clio Barcenas are both 19 years old, Juan Jesus Gomez in 18 years of age, Arantxa Cossio one year younger.

“It was very special because we played against Mexico, it was fun. Also after winning this event, we have more trust in ourselves for the Pan American Youth Games in Cali” Arantxa Cossio

Impressive from the Mexican teenagers; it had been equally eye-catching in the later rounds.
Juan Jesus Gomez and Arantxa Cossio beat Ecuador’s Rodrigo Tapia and Mylena Plaza (11-5, 11-6, 11-4), before overcoming India’s Sanil Shetty and Reeth Tennison (11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5).

Similarly, Dario Arce and Clio Barcenas accounted Puerto Rico’s Derek Valentin and Fabiola Diaz (12-10, 11-6, 11-4), prior to ending the hopes of India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah and Ankita Das (11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5).

Bronze for India: Manush Utpalbhai Shah, Ankita Das, Reeth Tennison and Sanil Shetty (Photo: courtesy of the Ecuador Table Tennis Federation)
Major upset

Success for Juan Jesus Gomez; it was the same in both the men’s singles and men’s doubles events.

In the former he caused a major quarter-final upset by beating India’s Mudit Dani, the top seed (6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-0, 13-11) to reserve his place in the penultimate round where he meets Rodrigo Tapia, the no.4 seed and last eight winner against Austria’s Tarek Al-Samhoury (7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-7).

“At the beggining of the tournament it was very hard to get used to the speed of the ball. I’ve adapted and now I am feeling great.” Juan Jesus Gomez

Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, partnering Dario Arce, the duo recorded a semi-final win in opposition to the host nation’s Emiliano Riofrio and Rodrigo Tapia (11-9, 11-7, 11-8); in the title deciding contest India’s Sanil Shetty and Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the winners against Ecuador’s Jeremy Cedeño and Diego Piguave (12-10, 11-8, 11-8), await.

Dario Arce, a young man in form (Photo: courtesy of the Ecuador Table Tennis Federation)


Good form in both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles from Dario Arce; it was the same in the men’s singles. Like Juan Jesus Gomez, he caused a notable quarter-final upset, the no.8 seed, he accounted for Sanil Shetty, the no.2 seed (5-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9).

Manush Utpalbhai Shah now awaits; the no.6 seed, he reserved his quarter-final place courtesy of success when facing Emiliano Riofrio, the no.3 seed (9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7).

Similar success

Mexico to the fore; it was the same in the women’s singles and women’s doubles events.

Alas for Arantxa Cossio it was a quarter-final women’s singles defeat at the hands of India’s Reeth Tennison (4-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9); conversely for Clio Barcenas it was progress, she accounted for Puerto Rico’s Fabiola Diaz (16-14, 12-10, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7).

Nathaly Paredes promoting the Ecuadorian cause (Photo: courtesy of the Ecuador Table Tennis Federation)


Clio Barcenas now meets Ankita Das, the winner against Ecuador’s Mylena Plaza (11-3, 11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 2-11, 11-6); Reeth Tennison faces Nathaly Paredes, like Mylena Plaza, also from Ecuador.

At the quarter-final stage Nathaly Paredes accounted for Puerto Rico’s Kristal Melendez (11-8, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8).


Progress of Ankita Das and Reeth Tennison when apart; progress when together.

They reserved their place in the women’s doubles final by overcoming Nathaly Paredes and Mylena Plaza (11-5, 11-9, 11-6); in the final they confront Clio Barcenas and Arantxa Cossio, the semi-final winners in opposition to Fabiola Diaz and Kristal Melendez (11-8, 12-10, 11-3).

Semi-final sadness for Kristal Melendez and Fabiola Diaz (Photo: courtesy of the Ecuador Table Tennis Federation)


Play in Cuenca concludes on Saturday 6th November with one fact certain; in every event there will be a place for Mexico on the medal podium.

General News 2021 ITTF Ecuador International Open 2021 ITTF Ecuador International Open

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