KHEITH RHYNNE CRUZ earned another achievement to her budding career by ruling the U19 girls singles of the World Table Tennis (WTT) 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 after winning two gold medals in the Southeast Asia Youth 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, also of the Philippines, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5, in the tournament that drew 11 countries and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), 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).
“Your presence in our city has enriched our lives, and we hope that you leave with fun memories of our warm hospitality and fond memories of our city,” said Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron, who gave P20,000 and P10,000 to Filipino gold and silver medalists respectively. “The friendships formed and the cultural exchanges that I am sure have taken place will leave a lasting impact extending far beyond the championship.”
Philippine Table Tennis Federation Inc. president Ting Ledesma thanked Puerto Princesa for hosting the event as the organization also handed out 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.
“Your presence and enthusiasm added a special touch to the event. We bid adieu to this wonderful event, but the journey does not end here,” said Ledesma during the closing ceremony.
Puerto Princesa will host another WTT Youth Contender to be held from April 29 to May 5, 2024.