Tsuboi and Kumahara Qualify for ITTF World Cup
Gustavo TSUBOI and Caroline KUMAHARA claiming the men's & women's titles respectively at the 2015 ITTF-Latin America Cup
Brazil has once again proven itself as the table tennis powerhouse in Latin America, with its top players Gustavo TSUBOI and Caroline KUMAHARA claiming the men's & women's titles respectively at the 2015 ITTF-Latin America Cup that concluded in Cuba on 31 May 2015.
Their victory means that the duo qualify directly to take on the world's best players from other continents at the prestigious ITTF World Cup's later in the year.
Despite losing the first 2 games in the all-Brazilian finals, TSUBOI was able to turn the tide around to defeat the defending champion, Cazuo MATSUMOTO 4-2 (8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7, 11-7) to claim his second ITTF-Latin America Cup title after his first victory back in 2011.
Delighted about gold, the top seed shared, "We know each other since we are under 18. We train together and this was the most difficult match I had. Our matches were always close and this time I have to fight back. It was really hard when I am trailing behind and I had to change the rhythm to win."
"It's a double joy for me because it is also my birthday today. Now I will take some time to enjoy this victory and I will think of the Pan American Games next."
In the women's finals matchup, KUMAHARA successfully defended her crown to score the third continental cup title in her career. She accounted for her compatriot GUI Lin 4-0 (12-10, 12-10, 11-8, 11-2) to seal her victory.
The Sao Paulo native expressed "Although it was a 4-0 match, it was hard. I began very well in all four games but she fought back, making it difficult for me."
"There is always high level table tennis at play at the Latin American Cups and matches are hard from the group phase. I was happy for my performance here and gained confidence for the Pan American Games. This year I haven't been good, not very focused. I wasn't expecting to be champion but this achievement makes me keep training harder. The Pan American Games are going to be difficult."
The Liebherr 2015 Men's World Cup will be held in Halmstad, Sweden on 16-18 October and the 2015 Women's World Cup in Sendai, Japan on 30 October - 1 November.
The ITTF World Cups are amongst the most prestigious event in the world, with only the top 18 players qualifying for the event through the continental cups, plus the world champion and one wildcard.
Qualifications for the 2015 ITTF Men's & Women's World Cups:
Current World Champion: MA Long (CHN), DING Ning (CHN)
NN Table Tennis Club 2015 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER), Marcos FREITAS (POR), Panagiotis GIONIS (GRE), LIU Jia (AUT), Petrissa SOLJA (GER), Irene IVANCAN (GER)
GAC Group 2015 Asian Cup: XU Xin (CHN), Jun MIZUTANI (JPN), FENG Tianwei (SIN), LIU Shiwen (CHN)
K-Sports 2015 ITTF-Oceania Cup: William HENZELL (AUS), LAY Jian Fang (AUS)
Double Fish 2015 ITTF-North America Cup: Jimmy BUTLER (USA), ZHANG Mo (CAN)
2015 Latin-America Cup: Gustavo TSUBOI (BRA), Caroline KUMAHARA (BRA)