Table Tennis by Lily Yip
1992 & 1996 US Olympian

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Ariel Hsing Wins the Pan American Tryouts and Qualifies for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games
by US Junior Team Coach, Lily Yip

During the last week of January, Ariel Hsing, Michael Landers, Ariel's father, Michael Hsing, and I traveled to San Salvador so that Ariel and Michael could participate in the Youth Olympic Games Qualification Event, on Feb. 1-3, 2010. The Qualifications were open to elite players born between 1994 to 1995. In addition, since Michael had his personal coach Ernesto with him, I practiced with Ariel several hours a day before the competition and warmed up 40 minutes before her matches. As the US Junior Team Coach, I knew that after the Nationals, Ariel had been training hard at Rajulís ICC club in California where she was well prepared. Also, Ariel always has 100% support from her parents. Arielís father, Michael made sure she was well fed and rested, in spite of adverse circumstances with the tournament's official hotel.

In the Qualifiers, Ariel rather handily beat her first three opponents. However, in the Finals she faced the highly skilled Caroline Kumahara of Brazil in a pressure filled match. Ariel started with a 0:9 deficit in the first game and was down 1:3 in games. She seemed to be a bundle of nerves. But in Game 5 she calmed down and started focusing on the ball and executing her shots with great precision to win 11-4. The true Ariel emerged, now revitalized, confident, and hungry to win and with the eye of the tiger, she mounted a 3 game comeback. I was very proud of her determination and the will to not give in. She won the Girls' Singles Title, thus booking her place in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore on Aug. 21-26, 2010. Afterwards we enjoyed a sumptuous victory dinner courtesy of Mike Hsing and finally Ariel was showing a great big smile on her beautiful face.

On her way to the top, she performed at a high level (beating a list of her victims, as the ITTF put it):
Ariel Hsing (USA) defeated Emelia Ortega (MEX) 4-0 (5,6,6,6); Agustina Iwasa (ARG) 4-1 (5, 7, -9, 8, 7);
Maria Soto (PER) 4-0 (4, 7, 8, 6); and in the Finals narrowly edged out Caroline Kumahara (BRA) 4-3
(-6, 8, -8, -7, 4, 9, 10) in a tenacious, gutsy, come-from-behind victory which should make all USATT members proud.

Once again, this shows the successful results that can be obtained when our USATT coordinates its efforts to support our junior players. It's another plus when juniors receive strong parental support. So congratulations to Ariel Hsing, and it's onward to the 2010 Youth Olympic Games where I look forward to working with her again.