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http://ctta.ca/php/view.php?act=News&id=300&back=1&search=&provid=

December 21st, 2009

YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES – CANADIAN QUALIFICATION

For Canada’s young table tennis players the Road To Singapore goes through El Salvador.

On the girls side, Lolo Zhao came into the competition as leader of the selection points table. However, the preliminary round robin competition hinted at an upset. Zhao lost two matches narrowly (3-4 to Li Quan Ly, QC and 3-4 to Julianne Mak, AB). Then in the semi-finals, Zhao took revenge winning against Mak by a score of 4-0.

In the other semi-finals Li Quan Ly came back from a 0-2 deficit against Alayna Chan (SK) to advance to the finals.

The finals started well for Li Quan Ly as she won the first two matches 11-8, 12-10. But Zhao showed spirit and determination winning the next four games and securing her spot in the PANAM Olympic Qualifier in El Salvador, February 1-3, 2010.

Coming into the boys’ competition, the points leaders were Terry Zhang and Mathieu Theriault (QC). The preliminary round robins showed that 4 players were in contention for the top spot. A rapidly improving Jimmy Pintea (ON) overcame a 2-1 deficit against Terry Zhang defeating the top ranked Manitoban by a score of 4-3.

In group B, Guillaume Hardy won a closely fought battle against Mathieu Theriault to finish first in his group.

Adrian Lee (BC) showed himself a serious contender in a high level match against Mathieu Theriault losing a tight match 4-2.

Pintea vs Theriault and Zhang vs Hardy were the semi-finale match ups.

Down 10-6 in game 1, Pintea fought his way back to even the score at 10-10. A see-saw battle finally awarded the game to Theriault by a score of 13-11. Theriault took confidence from that game, Pintea could not find his earlier form. A strong performance by Theriault put him in the finals - one more match to go.

Terry Zhang would face defense artist Guillaume Hardy - a player he had lost to in the past. But a ‘new and improved’ Zhang played with poise and spirit and secured his place in the finals against Theriault.

Both players were ready. Some excellent rallies characterized game 1 of the Finals with Zhang gaining the psychological advantage with a 14-12 win. Game 2 went to Zhang by a score of 11-6. However, Theriault started to play more aggressively taking game 3 by a score of 11-4. Game 4 would prove to be the crucial game and Zhang managed another 14-12 win. Theriault would fight back with a 12-10 win to put another game into his column but could not fend off a 11-7 win in game 6.

Hence, the two point leaders before the competition walked away the qualifiers for El Salvador. The competition showed a high level of play with Canada’s Under 15 players - now it is time to fight at this level against the other PANAM countries.

From the PANAM qualifier 3 player will qualify for the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore - we wish the two Canadians all the best in their quest to claim one of these spots.

Final standings:

BOYS 1 - Terry Zhang (MB) 2 - Mathieu Theriault (QC) 3 - Guillaume Hardy (QC)

GIRLS 1 - Lolo Zhao (ON) 2 - Li Quan Ly (QC) 3 - Alayna Chan (SK)

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