United States and Brazil Take Home the First Gold Medals from Teams Event Finals
by Joshua Dyke
The Cadet & Junior Teams finals were the main attraction on day 3 with the first gold medals of the 2023 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships going home with United States claiming 3 golds and 1 silver — Brazil taking 1 gold and 2 silver.
Teams – Darryl Tsao (USA) in the Junior Boys’ Finals at the 2023 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships - Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center – West Virginia. July 26, 2023.
The U19 Boys’ USA Team finals appearance had them matched up in the Junior finals versus Brazil. USA was able to claim the victory defeating Brazil in five matches.
The overall team effort seemed to be one of their keys to success to get the best a formidable Brazilian Team featuring singles top seed IIZUKA KENZO Leonardo who both of his matches in clutch game fives.
TSAO Darryl, for the U19 USA Boy's Team, won arguably the most pivotal match in the final against Brazil’s DOTI ARDO Felipe at 3-2 (10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, and 11-9). The match 3 win allowed USA to extend play for a match five championship win sealed by TRAN Daniel.
TSAO reflected on what gave him the edge in his matchup with ARDO, “I would say definitely staying positive, playing confidently and just sticking to the game plan,” said TSAO. “It was mostly just getting into the open rallies, changing directions quick, and then once [Felipe Ardo] gets off the table, then I have the opportunity to take the advantage in the corner.”
With the gold medal victory, The United States has qualified for the 2023 World Youth Championships coming up this November in Slovenia.
“Winning the championships means a lot to me. It is my last year playing under 19 juniors. Getting first, we qualify for the World Juniors in Slovenia,” commented TSAO. “So I'm really happy that I made it one more time in my last year. It makes me really proud to be able to win gold for Team USA.”
Teams – Tiffany Ke (USA) in the Junior Girls’ Finals at the 2023 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships - Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center – West Virginia. July 26, 2023.
The United States U19 Girls beat Puerto Rico in three matches leading to their Pan Am Junior gold medal and a trip to the World Junior Championships.
Although the US squad didn’t drop a single game in the finals, Puerto Rico put in a valiant effort keeping the games close throughout each match.
Giving insight on the USA team dynamic, KE Tiffany touched on the type of support for one another that ensured her, and ultimately the team’s victory in the Junior Girls’ U19 Teams final.
“My coaches and my teammates gave me a lot of support and encouragement before my matches, so I felt really confident, mentioned KE, I feel like it really allowed me to just play my game to like my full potential.”
KE Tiffany capped off the gold win for USA against Puerto Rico’s RODRIGUEZ Alondra 3-0 (16-14, 13-11, and 11-6).
Teams – Davi Kojii (Brazil) in the Cadet Boys’ Finals at the 2023 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships - Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center – West Virginia. July 26, 2023.
Brazil was able to take home gold in the Cadet Boys’ Teams championship gold medal after finishing off the USA Under 15 team 3-2 in which the US took silver in the event.
Davi Kojii picked up two matches for Brazil in the Boys’ Teams final. Kojii’s performance led the team in the opening match and in match five to close out the Brazilian victory for the gold.
“I was never able to qualify for the world championships. This is the first time I can go, so now I will be able to have more support.” Kojii commented after the win. “I can continue traveling outside of South America more often. I couldn’t do it before, so now that I can it's just a great thing.”
Kojji was thrilled for his team’s gold medal victory, and of course, his team’s chance to play at the 2023 World Youth Championships.
Teams –Amber Liu (USA) Cadet Girls’ Semifinals at the 2023 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships - Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center – West Virginia. July 26, 2023.
The USA Cadet Girls’ team was able to over overwhelm their Canadian counterparts 3-2 in the finals for the Pan Am Championship U15 title.
LIU Amber helped carry USA to victory as she was able to take two matches, match two and match four against Canada. With the score knotted up ZHANG Amy had the composure to close out match five against PAN Ivy in three games (11-4, 11-4, and 11-9) after enduring an admirable game-three surge from PAN.
“I played very aggressive on both my backhand and forehand. I also picked really good serves, especially at important times during the game,” said LIU Amber.
The combination of the LIU’s aggressive yet decisive approach and ZHANG’s calculated approach as a chopper was more than the young women of Canada could handle.