TABLE Tennis Association of the Philippines (TATAPhil) president Ting Ledesma remains optimistic the national junior team is capable of winning a medal in the 19th Southeast Asian Table Tennis Association Junior Championship starting Friday.
Ledesma, a former national player, said the newly formed junior squad under head coach Noel Gonzales is ready to compete against the eight Southeast Asian countries set to see action in the meet set July 12 to 16 at the Garden Square of the Harrison Plaza Mall.
“I believe we’re not going to come out empty here in this tournament. Our junior players are all ready to compete,” Ledesma said on Tuesday during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate. “They worked hard to be in the lineup and I’m sure they will fight for glory.”
But Ledesma said he can’t make any predictions since the rest of the field is considered strong.
“It’s very hard to make any predictions but I believe we can compete and win here,” he added during the session presented by Shakey’s and Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
Ledesma said the national junior team will be spearheaded by Ryan Rodney Jacolo, Jethro Gapas, John Michael Castro, Frances Garganian, Angelica Sanchez, Hannah Romero, Jamaica Sy, John Marie Nayre, Emy Rose Dael and John Paul Gubaton, among others.
They will compete in the boys’ and girls’ singles, doubles, team, and mixed doubles 15 and 18-under age classes.
At least 150 young athletes from various Southeast Asian countries will see action in the meet sanctioned by the International Table Tennis Federation and supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Powerhouse countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam will join the five-day tournament along with Brunei, Cambodia, and Laos.
Indonesia and Cambodia decided to skip the competition.
Seatta secretary-general Malaysian Chan Foong Keong will grace the opening ceremony.