The 2023 Pan American Championships came to an end in Havana, Cuba, on Sunday 17 September with Canada winning the Silver Medal in Women’s Doubles and the Silver Medal in Men’s Team.

Congratulations to Mo Zhang and Ivy Liao for their silver medal in WD, even though they were not seeded.

Congratulations to our Men’s team for not only getting the Silver Medal, but for earning a spot for Canada at the Paris Olympic Games in the Team event by placing in the top 2 in Cuba.

In Cuba, Canada’s women were seeded 4th and the Men were seeded 5th. It was a tall order to try to finish in the top 2, but not impossible.

Unfortunately, although our women won their group, and moved into the top 8 knockout stage as a top-4 seed, they had a heart-breaking loss to Chile 3-2, and lost their chance to advance into the final 4 and compete for the top 2 positions. This loss was the pivoting point for our women, missing the Olympic Team qualification and placing 5th overall in the Team event.

On the other hand, although our men did not win their group and finished second to Argentina, an interesting turn of event, a good draw, and a stellar performance against Puerto Rico, allowed our men to achieve the unexpected. They won their match in the quarter-final knockout stage and qualified for the final 4 round robin group.

The USA men had a bad draw and lost to Brazil in the quarters, thus missing the final 4. This was a great breakthrough for our Men. But the real pivoting point was the unexpected 3-0 win for Canada against Puerto Rico in our first match in the RR-Group. This changed everything. Brazil won all its matches to finish first, and the other 3 teams in the RR tied for second place. Canada came through based on its win-loss record in the RR against the tied teams. Canada had 5 wins and 3 losses (3-0 win vs Puerto Rico and 2-3 loss to Chile), Puerto Rico stood at 3-4 and Chile had a 4-5 record, with Canada clinching second place overall.

Canada’s win against Puerto Rico 3-0 was a huge surprise but proves that all is possible. However, our loss to Chile 2-3 in our last match should have been a 3-1 win (check the results). 

It is ironic that Canada lost to Chile 3-2 in both the women and men events. However, the outcome is very different. This loss eliminated our women, while it gave the men the necessary points to finish in the top 2. This is sport.

Overall Canada did not do very well winning only 2 medals. This is overshadowed by the elation of the final men’s results. But we must take into consideration that Canada fielded some young players: Jessie Xu (15), Fiona Nie (18), Simeon Martin (18), Edward Ly (20), and Ivy Liao (22).

On behalf of TTCAN, I would like to thank the coaches, Wen JianRen and Maxime Surprenant for their work with the women’s team and men’s team respectively.

I also would like to thank Mo Zhang and Eugene Wang for leading our teams and using their vast experience for the benefit of our younger players.

For detailed results, click here:—&selectedTab=Groups&eventId=2789

We now turn our attention and focus on the Pan American Games, 25 October – 5 November 2023, in Santiago, Chile, which will serve as the Mixed Doubles qualification for the Paris Olympic Games.

Adham Sharara
Table Tennis Canada Tennis de Table