Rheann Chung booked an October date in Guadalajara
Photo By: Enrique Jiménez
Good players adapt but for two players competing in the Qualification Tournament for the Pan American Games, they had to adapt more than anyone else.
Dexter St Louis and Rheann Chung are from Trinidad and Tobago but they reside for the majority of the year in France; they live in Bordeaux; Dexter plays in the French League for CAM Bordeuax, whilst Rheann represents Poitiers.
Playing in Guadalajara is far different from competing in the French League but both adapted to competing in the Mexican city and both succeeded in gaining one of the last two places available to qualify for the singles events at the Pan American Games to be staged in Guadalajara in October.
In the final competition to determine the precious places on the evening of Tuesday 31st May 2011; in the Women’s Singles event Rheann Chung overcame Andrea Hoppert of Honduras (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5) before accounting for Ecuador’s Tania Almendariz (3-11, 11-8, 7-11, 14-12, 12-14, 11-8, 11-3) and Argentina´s Kim Hae Ja (11-5, 3-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6).
Meanwhile, Dexter St Louis accounted for Uruguay’s Mateo Weizner (11-7, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5), Costa Rica’s Allan Calvo (11-2, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4), Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez (12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-5) and Paraguay’s Santiago Osorio (12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 14-16, 11-6 ).
Saved Match Points
The contest against the Paraguayan was one that kept everyone in the hall on the very edges of their seats.
In the sixth game Santiago Osorio saved three match points before eventually Dexter St Louis kept mind, body and soul together to secure the vital seventh game; the fact that he was more adept close to net, secured the victory.
True to tradition, at the end of the match, Dexter St Louis ripped of shirt, saluted the crowd and then lay prone on the floor in both mental and physical exhaustion.
Only Two Players
They have been the only two players from Trinidad and Tobago present during the whole nine days of table tennis in Guadalajara; thus in the ITTF-Latin American Championships they could only play in the singles events and similarly were not able to compete in the Pan American Team Qualification event.
“Every day Dexter and myself came to the hall to practise”, explained Rheann Chung but of course that does not replace competition and all their adversaries had competed in team events in both the ITTF-Latin American Championships and in the Pan American Games Qualification event.
“Certainly, it has been difficult to adapt to the conditions here in Guadalajara; not only the fact that Guadalajara is at altitude; also the fact that there is the heat”, added Rheann Chung. “Coming from the cold of Europe to the heat of Mexico is much different.”
Undoubtedly the temperatures between the two parts of the world are very different and at the moment in France summer is starting; it’s not that cold! It’s just cold when you compare with Guadalajara where temperatures had soared to beyond 40 degrees!
“It is totally different here”, concluded Rheann Chung. “Everything is different, the atmosphere, the temperature, everything.”
Puerto Rico Success
Success for Trinidad and Tobago and there was success for Puerto Rico, in fact a full house of success.
In the first knock-out competition played in the morning, Jerica Morerro and Carelyn Cordero were the two players to qualify for the Women’s Singles event at the Pan American Games. In the afternoon session, 15 year old Daniely Rios qualified.
She beat Ecuador’s Sandra Durazno (11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5) before overcoming Argentina´s Anna Codina (11-13, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7) and Paula Fukuhara, also from Argentina (11-8, 11-4, 11-3, 11-6).
Almost More for Puerto Rico
Furthermore, there was almost success for Puerto Rico in the Men’s Singles event.
Brian Afanador, 14 years old, reached the final but it was not to be; he was beaten by Peru’s Juan Acosta (12-10, 11-13, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8).
Earlier, Juan Acosta had beaten Panama’s Felipe Leon (11-5, 11-4, 11-9, 11-2), Colombia’s Julian Arango (11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7) and Elvin Rivera, also from Puerto Rico (11-6, 11-7, 14-12, 11-6).