International Title Secured Eight Years Ago, Can American Emulate Gao Jun
2015 Pan American Games
Courtesy of ITTF
Eight years ago when the Pan American Games were staged in the Riocentro in Barra da Tijuca on the outskirts of the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, the same venue that will host the table tennis events at the 2016 Olympic Games, Gao Jun of the United States joined forces with Wang Chen and Tawny Banh to win the Women’s Team event.
Later she progressed to secure the Women’s Singles title.
Four Weeks Later
Less than four weeks later, a young lady who is on duty at the 2015 Pan American Games in Markham, Toronto and is also from the United States, was winning an international title.
Wu Yue, 15 years old at the time was winning one of the most testing ITTF Junior Circuit tournaments, one that requires the highest of standards in order to emerge successful.
Taiyuan Junior and Cadet Open
On Thursday 23th August 2007, representing China, Wu Yue won the Junior Girls’ Singles title at the Taiyuan Junior and Cadet Open; Taiyuan being a flight of approximately one hour from the Chinese capital city of Beijing.
Now eight years later in Toronto, can Wu Yue follow in the footsteps of Gao Jun?
She is on track; she remained unbeaten throughout the Women’s Team event, being pivotal to the gold medal success gained by the United States and in the Women’s Singles competition, she has made the ideal start.
No World ranking owing to an absence from the international scene, in her opening match in the first stage of proceedings on the morning of Wednesday 22nd July, she accounted for the Dominican Republic’s Eva Brito, the no.18 seed in four straight games (11-9, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6).
“At the end of 2008 I decided to leave China, I wanted to see the world; I gained United States citizenship on the very last day of 2014”, explained Wu Yue. “I live in New York, in New Jersey and I coach at Spin New York.”
Owned by Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon, Spin New York is a social table tennis club with bar, and restaurant for a night’s entertainment.
Returned to China
“Before a tournament like the Pan American Games I go back to China to practise for a month in order to prepare”, explained Wu Yue who have proved too secure for Eva Brito; skills close the table proving a telling factor.
“I’m pleased with how I played, Eva goes back from the table”, added Wu Yue. “She is very strong with her top spin play, so I stayed close in order to be able to control the points.”
Defeat for Eva Brito but the door is not closed; four players in each group, players finishing in first and second positions qualify for the main draw.
In the corresponding match in the group involving Eva Brito and Wu Yue; Mexico’s Yadira Silva, the no.4 seed, accounted for Guatemala’s Andrea Estrada, the no.25 seed (11-3, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3).
Qualification Groups: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles
Toronto 2015 Pan American Games Day 4
Photos by Thorsten Gohl