Saturday, October 27, 2012

2012 Pan Am Championships

The 2012 Pan Am Championships took place in Lima, Peru at the Coliseo Manuel Bonilla in Miraflores. We typically have used the Club Regatas in the past, but this time we were playing here instead. The weather was pretty much early spring weather, so it was quite cold especially at the venue and it rained here and there. Nonetheless, despite some transportation issues, it was a pretty smooth tournament without any major hiccups.

The team event started on the 8th, so I flew down with Christin Tsai from Vancouver on October 6th, bright and early 7am flight to Houston. We met up with our National Team coach, Jeff White, and left for Lima later in the day and arrived at about 10pm in Lima. We flew down with United Airlines, which is a partner of Star Alliance (same with Air Canada). I would have much preferred to have flown Air Canada, but they didn't have the dates that I wanted. The benefit of flying with Air Canada is that there may be a possibility to be upgraded to Business Class if you have enough eUpgrade credits, and also that you get a personal TV. We only have a big shared TV screen on United. However, Air Canada only flies from Toronto, while United seems to have a few more options. The last bonus of Air Canada though, is that you don't have to clear US Customs. Sometimes it can be a pain with transferring bags and whatnot, but I will save that for a later posting.

Lounging in the hotel lobby, watching Modern Family
We met up with the rest of the team that night, which included: Adrian Liu (BC), Derrick Ng (BC), Nyl Yakura (ON), myself, Alex Bruce (ON), Joycelyn Ko (ON/BC), Phyllis Chan (BC), and Christin Tsai (BC). Missing from the roster were Michelle Li (ON) and Grace Gao (AB/ON) as they were unable to received medical clearance to participate in the event. Fortunately, they were replaced in time by Christin and Phyllis. Overall, the team event went smoothly. We had a rough start with Brazil in the pool play as we squeezed by and won 3-2 after losing both our Singles, but things picked up and we did better against Peru. We came out and faced Mexico in the semifinals and won 4-1, and we defeated the USA in the finals, also 4-1, to take our 4th consecutive team event title! Footage of the Canadian matches in the Team Semis and Finals are posted on my YouTube channel, with specific matches posted below:

Photo credit: Christin Tsai
Full Results: []

(WS): Tsai [CAN] vs. Solis [MEX]
(MS): Yakura [CAN] vs. Munoz [MEX]
(MD): Liu/D.Ng [CAN] vs. Castillo/Ocegueda [MEX]
(WD): Ko/Tsai [CAN] vs. Gonzalez/Gonzalez [MEX]

Team F: CANADA vs. USA
(XD): T.Ng/Bruce [CAN] vs. Chew/Subandhi [USA]
(MS): Yakura [CAN] vs. Pongnairat [USA]
(WS): Tsai [CAN] vs. Subandhi [USA]
(MD): Liu/D.Ng [CAN] vs. Chew/Pongnairat [USA]

For the individual events, we were joined by Philippe Charron (QC) and Sergiy Shatenko (ON). In the MS, we were represented by Nyl, Sergiy, and myself. I was only able to play MS as Grace did not withdraw early enough for me to find another partner and MD had the maximum amount of teams already as well. Unfortunately, we all ended up losing to the top 4 seeds from Guatemala and USA, with Kevin Cordon [GUA] eventually reclaiming his title against Osleni Guerrero [CUB], a rematch of the 2011 Pan Am Games final.

MS Final: Cordon [GUA] vs. Guerrero [CUB]

In Women's Singles, none of the Pan American medalists were in the tournament this year. However, rising Canadian star Christin Tsai rose to the occasion and took the title, defeating Jamie Subandhi of the USA. Christin, who is representing Canada at the World Juniors in Japan this year, was ranked as high as 6th in the World in the junior rankings for Women's Singles. She's definitely one to keep an eye out for!

WS Semi: Tsai [CAN] vs Velez [USA]

WS Final: Tsai [CAN] vs Subandhi [USA]

In the Men's Doubles, Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng were finally able to break their Pan Am semifinal curse, as they have lost in the semifinals 3 times previously. However, not this time, as they practically steamrolled their way and remained undefeated for the entire tournament!

MD Final: Liu/Ng [CAN] vs Paiola/Tjong [BRA]

In the Women's Doubles, we had 2 brand new Canadian pairings duking it out for the 2012 Pan Am title. After mixing and matching between 3 teams, we now have Alex Bruce/Phyllis Chan, Joycelyn Ko/Christin Tsai, and probably Michelle Li/Grace Gao who will be competing in the circuit as soon as they recover from their injuries. It was an interesting match in the final, as both sides seemed to have moments of dominance, but in the end, Alex and Phyllis were the ones on top, defeating Joycelyn and Christin in a 3 set match. I anticipate some very interesting WDs match ups in Canada and it will be interesting to see which team will come out on top, especially at the 2013 Canadian National Championships next February!

WD Final: Bruce/Chan [CAN] vs Ko/Tsai [CAN] - G1&2       //      G3

Last but not least, we have the Mixed Doubles, with Derrick and Alex taking over as the top seeds. They had a struggle against the American team of Phillip Chew/Jamie Subandhi, but they made up for it by destroying the other Canadian team in the XD final! They definitely wanted the win, which is probably a first international mixed title for both Derrick and Alex, and with that, they were both able to triple crown at the event! Although I couldn't compete for a 4th consecutive Pan Am mixed title, at least it stays in the family :P

XD Semi: Ng/Bruce [CAN] vs Chew/Subandhi [USA]

XD Final: Ng/Bruce [CAN] vs Charron/Chan [CAN]

That's pretty much it! Until next time then, thanks for visiting!

2012 Pan Am Singles Champions!

Team Canada medalists

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