Youngest and Oldest Book Places, the Generation Game in Santiago
2016 ITTF-Latin American Olympic Games Qualification
Courtesy of ITTF
April 1, 2016 – The youngest and the oldest; of the 35 players on duty in the Women’s Singles event at the 2016 ITTF-Latin American Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in the Chilean capital city of Santiago on the opening day of play, Friday April 1st, they were the players to secure the first of six available places for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Puerto Rico’s 15 year old Adriana Diaz and Colombia’s 34 years of age, Lady Ruano were the players to emerge successful.
Success for Adriana Diaz was as seeding anticipated, even though the youngest player on duty, she was the top name; the progress of Lady Ruano was less to be anticipated, she started proceedings as the no.10 seed on day that witnessed a whole flurry of surprises.
Cuba’s Idalys Lovet, the no.20 seed, accounted for Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara, the no.2 seed, in the opening round (11-7, 6-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8), before in the very next round experiencing defeat at the hands of Lady Ruano (6-11, 11-6, 14-12, 11-8, 11-4).
A place in the quarter-finals booked, Lady Ruano, who had ousted Argentina’s Candela Molero in the opening round (11-7, 11-2, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4), caused an upset of note by overcoming the host nation’s Paulina Vega, the no.6 seed, in a quite titanic seven games duel.
The cool and calm Colombian, although no doubt churning inside, recovered from a three games to nil deficit to emerge d successful by the very narrowest of seven games margins (5-11, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8, 13-11).
One more hurdle to negotiate, Lady Ruano caused yet another upset, arguably an even bigger upset by beating Mexico’s Yadira Silva, the no.4 seed and a player who had competed in the Olympic Games in both Beijing and London.
Impressively, Lady Ruano prevailed in five games (8-11, 11-6, 16-14, 11-6, 11-7).
“I am so grateful for everything that has happened; I do not know how to describe what I feel, I dedicate the success to my family, my mum my brother, to all who support me”, said Lady Ruano. “The win over Paulina was the vital contest; it gave me so much confidence for the match against Yadira.”
Tense moments for Lady Ruano, there were also tense moments for the Puerto Rican supporters club.
In the match to decide the Olympic Games place, in the vital seventh and deciding game against Cuba’s Lisi Castillo, Adriana Diaz trailed 6-8 before winning five of the next six points to secure victory (13-15, 11-7, 11-7, 11-13, 11-2, 7-11, 11-9).
“This match was ultra-difficult when he was 8-6 ahead in the seventh game I stayed calm and played positively”, said Adriana Diaz. “I said to myself fight, no surrender; it was very close and my team mates really helped me; now for Rio and a great experience.”
Against the Odds
Defeat for the effervescent Lisi Castillo but a place in the title deciding contest was against the odds.
Occupying the no.11 seeded position in the competition, after accounting for Guatemala’s Mabelyn Enriquez in the opening round (11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5), she caused a major upset by beating Brazil’s Gui Lin, the no.2 seed (6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9).
An upset of note; one round later, there was one more, she accounted for Venezuela’ Gremlis Arvelo, the no.8 seed (11-7, 6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8) to reserve het place in the qualification deciding contest.
Meanwhile, for Adriana Diaz life had been less fraught.
In the opening round she accounted for Roxy Gonzalez, like Gremlis Arvelo from Venezuela (11-5, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-2), before beating Chile’s Katherine Low, the no.16 seed (12-10, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9) and Colombia’s Paula Medina, the no.7 seed (16-18, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 16-14), to reserve her place in the showdown contest.
Adriana Diaz is the first player ever from Puerto Rico to qualify for the table tennis events at an Olympic Games; Lady Ruano is the second Colombian, the other name is Paula Medina wo played in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
She is of course present in Santiago trying to make the tally three consecutive appearances
Two More Names
Play continues on Saturday April 2nd when the names of two further qualifiers for the Women’s Singles event are decided.
2016 ITTF-Latin America Qualification Tournament – Qualification Matches