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- Created on Thursday, 08 March 2012 19:51
Bronze medallist in the Men’s Singles event at Latin American Championships in the Mexican city of Guadalajara one year ago, Cuba’s 22 year old Andy Pereira struck gold one year later in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. In the vital contest to determine the final place at the Latin American Olympic Qualification Tournament on Tuesday 6th March 2012, he beat Mexico’s Marcos Madrid (11-7, 11-9, 14-12, 11-9) to book his place in London.
Once again, as four years earlier in Santo Domingo, Marcos Madrid fell at the final hurdle. In 2008 he suffered defeat in the decisive match that decided the one remaining place when beaten by Trinidad and Tobago’s Dexter St Louis.
Four years later he had suffered the same fate with the Andy Pereira celebration emulating the antics of Dexter St Louis four years earlier and China’s Zhang Jike, when beating compatriot Wang Hao to win the Men’s Singles event, at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships.
Andy Pereira turned towards Amado Bodes, the President of the Cuban Table Tennis Federation who was sitting courtside fulfilling the role of coach. He ripped off his shirt in true Zhang Jike style to celebrate.
Four years earlier Dexter St Louis had doffed his shirt but without tearing it to pieces!
“Yesterday after I lost in the second round, I went back to the hotel and rested”, reflected Andy Pereira. “Today when I woke up I told myself to believe, it was the last pass to London.”
One day earlier Andy Pereira had been beaten by Chile’s Andy Pereira in six games (11-5, 2-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7).
“It’s the first time that I’ve played Marcos; today I served well and I was able to attack strongly immediately after the service”, continued Andy Pereira. “Spin the first ball and then get ready.”
Certainly he was ready, the main danger to Andy Pereira being Andy Pereira; on occasions his exuberance, perhaps over exuberance led to errors. He wanted to win, he wanted to win for those who have helped him and for his country.
Practises in Sweden
“They told me in Sweden that I could do it”, added Andy Pereira. “Soren Ahlen told me I could qualify, I didn’t want to disappoint them I wanted to win for Cuba.”
Andy Pereira practises on a full-time basis at the Swedish National Training Centre in Köping where Soren Ahlen is the head coach.
The Time Has Come
“Against Marcos when I went to the table, I said to myself now is the moment”, concluded Any Pereira; it was the moment, the moment for Andy Pereira.
One Place Remained
Only one place remained, not two as for the women because one of the six places allotted to Latin America had been already allocated.
The winner of the Men’s Singles title at the Pan American Games secures a place; in 2011 that title was won by Argentina’s Liu Song.
Road to Final
En route to the final, Andy Pereira beat Chile’s Alejandro Rodriguez (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-2, 13-11), Colombia’s Julian Ramos (11-5, 11-9, 11-2, 11-9), Ecuador’s Alberto Miño (5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9) and the Dominican Republic’s Juan Vila (8-11, 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 13-11, 11-2).
Meanwhile, Marcos Madrid had defeated Peru’s Juan Acosta (7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10), Cuba’s Yohan Mora (11-7, 11-8, 13-11, 15-13), Chile’s Felipe Olivares (11-6, 11-4, 11-1, 11-5) and brazil’s Cazuo Matsumoto (11-6, 11-9, 11-3, 6-11, 13-11).
The reserves in ranked order are: Marcos Madrid (Mexico), Cazuo Matsumoto (Brazil), Juan Vila (Dominican Republic), Felipe Olivares (Chile), Gaston Alto (Argentina), Emil Santos (Dominican Republic) and Alberto Miño (Ecuador).
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