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Young paddler Cruz leads World contender winners


Cruz defeated top seed and World youth No. 15 Sally Moyland of United States, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, on Sunday to capture the crown


Kheith Rhynne Cruz garnered another achievement in her young career after ruling the recent U19 girls’ singles of the World Table Tennis Youth Contender Puerto Princesa 2023.

Cruz defeated top seed and World youth No. 15 Sally Moyland of United States, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, on Sunday to capture the crown. She also captured two gold medals in the SEA Youth table tennis championships in Brunei last June.

Cruz swept her three matches in Group 2 of the preliminaries, and clinched a seat in the title match after defeating Zachi Mhiel Chua of the Philippines, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5, in the tournament that drew 11 countries.

The meet was supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Hua Ching Foundation, Topcoms, Globe, and the local government of Puerto Princesa.

Cruz also competed in the U17 girls’ singles but settled for the silver after being defeated by Moyland, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4, in the competition that was also attended by PSC chairman Richard Bachmann, commissioner Walter Torres, and PSC coordinator for Mindanao Noli Ayo.

Other Philippine team members who captured medals were Ray Joshua Lawrence Manlapaz (silver, U19 and U17 boys), Adelle Leopoldo (silver, U11 girls), Chrishien Santillan (bronze, U19 girls), Zachi Mhiel Chua (bronze, U19 girls), Emmanuel Yamson (bronze, U19 boys), and Matthan Jamin (bronze, U11 boys).

“The friendships formed and the cultural exchanges that I am sure have taken place will leave a lasting impact extending far beyond the championship,” Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron said.

The city top executive also handed P20,000 and P10,000 to Filipino gold and silver medalists, respectively.

Philippine Table Tennis Federation Inc. president Ting Ledesma thanked Puerto Princesa for hosting the event as the organization.

Ledesma also distributed incentives to the Filipino medalists in the amount of P20,000 for the gold, P10,000 for the silver, and P5,000 for the bronze.

Puerto Princesa will host another WTT Youth Contender to be held from 29 April to 5 May 2024.

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