Six nations qualified to the Olympics at the conclusion of the 2016 Latin America Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament. In total five men singles and six female singles quotas were up for grabs. The reason for the quota reduction for the men was because Brazil’s Hugo Calderano won a spot to the Olympics at the 2015 Pan American Games. Each of the three days there were two tournaments held concurrent with each other. The winner of the tournaments qualified to the Olympics with the exception of the men’s tournament on the third day where the two winners must face-off with each other to determine who will be given the final spot. The Latin America Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Santiago, Chile from April 1st to April 3rd 2016.
On the first day in the women’s singles it was top seed Adriana Diaz from Puerto Rico who booked the first spot though was made to work for it in the final match as Cuba’s Lisi Castillo forced the match to go to seven games. Diaz will be the first player from Puerto Rico to compete at the Olympics. The second female quota of the day went to Colombia’s Lady Ruano who defeated the much higher ranked Yadira Silva of Mexico 4-1.
The first day of the men’s singles tournaments saw a few upsets as the top three ranked players failed to make their finals. Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi and Argentina’s Gaston Alto lost to Felipe Olivares of Chile and Jorge Campos of Cuba respectively. In the final between those two players it was Campos who won the match 4-1. Cuba’s Andy Pereira made it two quotas for Cuba on the opening day as he also defeated an athlete from Chile, Gustavo Gomez in a narrow 4-3 victory. This will be Pereira’s second Olympics.
The second day of tournaments for the women’s singles turned out to be a great day for Brazil as they grabbed the two quotas of the day. For the second day in a row Mexico’s Yadira Silva missed out in qualification, losing out in the final to Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara 4-3 despite at one point holding a 3-1 lead. The other final match saw Brazil’s Lin Gui defeat Venezuela’s Gremlis Arvelo 4-2. Both Brazilian athletes will be competing at their second Olympics.
For the men’s singles tournaments Mexico’s Marcos Madrid qualified to the Olympics after attempts in 2008 and 2012 ended with him losing in the final match. Madrid defeated this tournament’s number 1 ranked athlete Gustavo Tsuboi of Brazil in a narrow 4-3 match. The second quota went to Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador whom defeated Chile’s Juan Lamadrid 4-1 in his tournament’s final.
Yadira Silva was third time lucky as she finally booked her spot to the Olympics by defeating Chile’s Katherine Low 4-2. The second and final Olympic quota went to Venezuela’s Gremlis Arvelo after she defeated Colombia’s Paula Medina 4-2.
Similarly top ranked Gustavo Tsuboi booked his spot to the Olympics by winning the sole quota on offer on the final day. In an intense final he prevented Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre from completing the comeback as Tsuboi at one point held a 3-1 lead. Tsuboi won the seventh set 11-9 to win the match 4-3.
Unqualified athletes can still qualify though the world rankings. Also by having two men and two women qualified Brazil will likely take the Latin America continental quota. In the unlikely event that they lose the continental quota they will still send a team as the host nation.
Quotas by Nations
- Brazil – 3
- Cuba – 2
- Mexico – 2
- Puerto Rico – 2
- Colombia – 1
- Venezuela – 1
- ITTF. 2016 ITTF-Latin America Olympic Qualification Tournament Results. Access on April 3 2016.