The finest American U15 and U19 players are competing in the 2023 Pan American Youth Championships in Charleston, West Virginia. Canada has sent four teams with a total of sixteen competitors, four coaches and a team lead (Anqi Luo, ON). Ontario is well-represented, with Kevin Guo and Jordan Grewal on the U19 Boys team, Ching Nam Fu and Demi Cai on the U19 Girls team, Frederick Zhang and Jessie Xu leading the U15 Boys and Girls teams, respectively. Eugene Wang coaches the U19 Girls while Raymond Zhang coaches the U15 Girls. Eugene in True North and Raymond in Three10 are both prominent coaches at our National High Performance Centres Ontario.
The team competition concluded yesterday, and both coaches led their respective squads to the podium. U15 Girls were awarded silver! The beginning of the tournament did not offer much hope. Their group was referred to as “death group” . In group A, only the traditionally strongest nations were drawn: Brazil, the United States, and Puerto Rico. Our team could not be completed on the first day of the competition because team members from Alberta missed their flight and were unable to reach on time. So, the first match against the United States was a formality without a single rally. Girls, however, defeated top-ranked Brazil (3:2) and Puerto Rico (3:0) and advanced to the semifinals as group runners-up. With confidence, the RR ladies had no difficulties against Peru. The score was 3:0 with only one game loss. Finally, they met the United States. Our southern neighbors proved to be too difficult, but Jessie Xu rose to the occasion and won her matches. The final score was 3:2 for the U.S. Additional team members include Olivia Huang (BC), Emily Liu, and Pan Ivy (AB). Congratulations!
Our U19 Women were similarly unlucky in the draw. They were given the United States (third seed) and Chile, a traditionally formidable opponent. After suffering a 1:3 loss to the United States, Ching Nam Gina Fu contributed two matches against Chile. Both matches went the distance. Gina’s last encounter was particularly noteworthy. The score of the team match was 2:2 and she trailed Reyes Macarena in games by a score of 1:2. Gina has allowed only 5 points in her last two games. 11:2 and 11:3. Crystal Liu also won a match for Canada, earning a quarterfinal with a 3:2 victory. The podium was secured with an outstanding performance and a 3:0 victory against Argentina. This time Demi Cai was also listed on a team’s roster.
In semis, Puerto Rican women were too powerful. Gina’s victory in the initial match gave our girls optimism, but the Puerto Ricans’ recent dominance resulted in a 1:3 tie. Other team members included Fiona Nie and Crystal Liu. Congratulations, women!
Our U19 and U15 boys teams tied for fifth place.
The United States won each and every event.