In an environment not seen as much as it should be for the sport of table tennis in Canada, a boisterous packed crowd came out to see the boys’ gold medal team match at Citadel High.
The top seeds, Ontario, marched out to the table wearing sunglasses and looking confident. But when Manitoba walked to the table, it was obvious who the crowd favourites were. Loud chants of “MANI-MANI-MANI-TOBA-TOBA-TOBA” were yelled by the underdogs’ supporters.
The first match pitted Ontario’s James Pintea against Manitoba’s Alan Huang. In the 1st set and with the crowd fully behind him, Huang got out to a early 7-4 lead. Pintea then won 5 points in row and won 11-8. In the 2nd and 3rd sets, Pintea was able to dictate the pace and win 11-3 and 11-6 to put Ontario up 1-0.
In the next match, Manitoba top player Terry Zhang went against Ontario’s Yen-Chun Lu. In the 1st set, each athlete traded points to 6-5 for Lu but then Lu was able to take command of the set and win 11-7. Both the 2nd and 3rd sets were close and had a number of great rallies but Lu was able to win both 11-9 and secure a 2-0 match lead for Ontario. Next up was doubles and Ontario went up 2 sets quickly by scores of 11- 5 and 11-4. Manitoba fought back valiantly and leveled the match 2 sets
apiece winning 13-11 and 11-6. In the end, Ontario lived up to their billing as the top seeds and won the 5th set 11-3 to win the team 3-0 and take home the gold.
After the match, the Ontario coaches were pleased with the results but were also looking forward to the next 2 days “They played very good but need to continue this play with singles and doubles coming up”
In the bronze medal match, British Columbia defeated Quebec by a match score of 3-0. Adrian Lee got BC off to a 1-0 lead with a 3-1 victory over Vincent Rousseau-Edmond. BC went up 2-0 when Jeremy Lau beat Mathieu Theriault 3-1. BC secured the bronze medal by winning the doubles 3 sets to 1 and taking the match 3-0 over Quebec.
In the 5/6th placement match, Alberta defeated Nova Scotia 3-1. In the 7/8th placement match PEI beat Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador beat Yukon 3-0 in the 9/10th placement match. Nunavut finished 11th.
Boys’ singles and doubles matches will continue on Friday and the gold and bronze medal matches will be played on Saturday.