Medal Secured in Women’s Doubles at 2023 Pan Am Games
by Barbara Wei
On the opening day of play at the 2023 Pan Am Games, Amy Wang and Rachel Sung secured at least a bronze medal for Team USA with a 4-0 win over the Venezuelan team of Roxy Gonzalez and Camila Obando Silva in front of a sold-out crowd. Amy and Rachel played as smooth as butter throughout the match, making difficult shots look effortless and were in a class of their own. Seeded first in the Women’s Doubles event, Amy and Rachel will face the Chilean team of Paulina Vega and Daniela Ortega Gomez in the semi-final match, Tuesday October 31st. The Chilean team has a significant home court advantage, but Amy and Rachel are up to the challenge. When asked about their next match, Amy was confident, stating “I don’t care who we play next, but we want to win.”
Lily Zhang and Jishan Liang opened play for the U.S. with a 4-0 win in mixed doubles over the Dominican team of Yasiris Ortiz and Jiaji Wu Zhang but fell in the quarterfinal match against the very strong Brazilian team of Bruna Takahashi and Victor Ishy. The Brazilians outplayed Lily and Jishan in the short game, but the Americans were even on all rallies. With this loss, the U.S. will not qualify a mixed doubles team to Paris 2024 at the 2023 Santiago Pan Am Games.
Nandan Naresh and Jishan Liang fell to the Cuban team of Jorge Campos and Andy Pereira Diez 0-4 in the Men’s Doubles event. The Cuban team, who have been competing together for over a decade, were simply too strong for the less experienced U.S. team.
The Centro Nacional de Entrenamiento Olimpico competition venue is beautiful and set to Olympic standards, with gorgeous lighting and huge courts. Nandan said that it was “the best venue he’d ever played in.” The sold-out crowd gives the space an energy unique to Latin America – table tennis and a party all at once.
Competition continues Monday October 30th with Singles play in the round of 32.