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USA Girls Cadet/Junior Team, September 7-11, 2005,
ITTF World Junior Circuit and World Cadet Challenge,Brazil Junior Open 2005, Guali be Gim, Guarauju City, Brazil
by Lily Yip, USATT Vice Pres., Coach of Girls Team
From Left to Right: Alicia Wei, Olena Sowers, Laura Xiao, Barbara Wei, Lily Yip, Massaki Tajima, Don Alto, Steven Chan (picture in Brazil)
On this trip I took two Cadet Girls and two Juniors including: Alicia Wei, Olena Sowers, Laura Xiao, and Barbara Wei. Now we shift to table tennis with a Latin American beat. (Nothing could compare with our experience in China. Training in China improved our girls and made them stronger, so our Junior Girls did pretty well in Brazil.)
Our combined Girls Team was well-behaved and disciplined, taking our mission seriously as young professionals. I was proud to work with them. Also, Massaki, US Cadet Boys Coach , was fun to work with. He was always willing to help our girls and provide them with quality practice. The tournament conditions were described by Barbara Wei as "3rd world minor", in other words, kind of substandard. Most of the field was from Latin America and South America, but there were a few players from Sweden, France, and Russia. Many of the Brazillian players were of Japanese descent because there are more than one million Japanese living in Brazil. The Junior Boys Final was interrupted when the venue was filled with swarms of moths and hurricane-like winds.
However,the beach in Guaruja may have overshadowed the table tennis; the tournament was good but the sparkling white sands were fantastic. The weather was balmy and pleasant during our visit. (Remember, our winter is their summer.) Almost all the women were wearing bikinis, even the senior women, 60+ . Frankly speaking, I didn't come prepared, so in my one piece I was regarded somewhat strangely as an outsider, to be sure.
Also, I must say that the food in Brazil was very good. The beef was very tender, flavorful, and juicy. It melted in your mouth, almost like ice cream. Furthermore, we learned that, in general, Brazillians live a very slow paced life. When I spoke with Brazillian Head Coach, Wei Jian Ren, he told me that Brazillians have a long holiday every month and two days off every week. So on Friday the people are dreaming about their days off Saturday and Sunday; and on Monday they are still "on cloud 9 " from the weekend. They really work hard on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. (I could get used to that!)
I believe the traveling was a good experience for our girls. That's an important part of the table tennis experience. You play table tennis and see the world. You
meet people and learn about life. I hope our girls will appreciate more that they are Americans and become ambassadors of good will for the USA and the USATT.
Our results: No. #1 player Barbara Wei won the Bronze Medal in Junior Girls Singles.
Our No. #2 Laura Xiao won the Bronze Medal in Junior Girls Doubles with BarbaraWei.
(When I was the Cadet Girls Coach last year, Judy Hugh won the Gold Medal in Cadet Girls Singles. This time I didn't take Judy, yet we still did well to win a Bronze Medal in the Juniors. Our No.#3 player Olena Sowers did pretty well, too, winning some matches in the Team event and winning a Bronze Medal with our No.#4 player Alicia Wei.
In closing, I'd like to thank USATT who made this trip possible. Congratulations to the US Junior Girls team.