The U.S. Paralympics Table Tennis National Team had a solid tournament at the 2009 Parapan American Championship in Margarita Island, Venezuela from September 27th through October 4th, bringing home 10 medals - six gold, two silver and two bronze. Two of our players received the ITTF PTT 2009 Best Players of the American Region Awards. In addition, Team USA finished in 2nd place overall Gold Medals with 6 after Brazil with 12 and followed by Mexico with 4.
103 athletes representing 10 countries participated in the Parapan American Championships 2009 in Margarita Island, Venezuela. The following countries participated in the tournament and indicated in parenthesis the number of athletes: Argentina 16, Brazil 33, Canada 3, Chile 8, Costa Rica 4, Ecuador 1 - first time participation ever, Guyana 1 - first time participation ever, Mexico 9, USA 8 and Venezuela (host country) 20.
The highlight of the Games for the U.S. team was the Gold medals won by Pamela Fontaine, Tahl Leibovitz and Mitchell Seidenfeld in their respective single events giving them an automatic pass to the Worlds Championship next year in Korea. Fontaine in Women's class 3 defeated Edith Sigala Lopez of Mexico 3-1, for the medal. Seidenfled defeated in Men's class 7 his countryman Norman Bass 3-0 for the medal. Leibovitz defeated in Men's class 9 Carlos Carbinatti Junior of Brazil 3-1 for the medal.
Norman Bass won the Silver medal in Men's class 7 singles while Jennifer Johnson won the Bronze medal in Women's class 4-5 singles.
In addition, Leibovitz won the Gold medal in the Open Men's class 6-10. Also, the U.S. squad won gold medals in Women's Team class 1-3 (Fontaine and Tara Profitt) and in Men's class 6-7 (Seidenfeld and Bass). Also, the U.S. team won the Bronze medal in Men's Team class 5 (Andre Scott and James Segrest).
Competing in their first Parapan American Championship Tara Profitt and James Segrest both won their 1st international matches in their classes early in the competition giving them great momentum to have a positive tournament. Both won medals in the Team's events. Both Segrest and Profitt gained immeasurable international competition experience.
Jennifer Johnson came back to the international competition after not having played for a good number of years. Although she had a tough group in her class, she showed everyone that she still has a strong game and amazing attitude towards the sport. Her performance earned her the 3rd place in her class.
Despite some controversies under class 5, our Andre Scott had a tough competition and unfortunately was knocked down from medal contention under his class in singles. However, his extensive international experience helped him and teammate Segrest (Class 2) to finish in 3rd place in the Team event.
Seidenfeld and Fonatine received the "ITTF PTT 2009 Best Players of the American Region" Awards. This was the 2nd time Seidenfeld is recognized with such award!
For official results go to: http://www.ipttc.org/results/international/2009/parapanam/index.htm
The team was supported by Chance Friend and coaches Ernesto Ebuen and Daniel Rutenberg.
Head coach Rutenberg said that the team met his expectations. "I strongly believe that we had a good experience at the Parapan American Championship. Obviously winning 10 medals and 3 awards were the highlight of the tournament, but knowing that all 8 athletes all won medals and played well in their matches now can walk away knowing that they did their best!"
In addition, coach Rutenberg indicated that "he was very pleased with the passing of Seidenfeld, Leibovitz and Fontaine to the World's next year and for the professionalism and positive attitude of all players in the Team."
Team USA expresses its gratitude to USATT and USOC for their support in preparation for the tournament. Also, we want to express to Li-Ning our appreciation and generosity for the uniforms.
Paralympic table tennis is separated into 10 classes depending on player's disability. The smaller the number is, the more severe their disabilities are. Classes 6 to 10 are for standing competitors while classes 1 to 5 are for players seated on wheelchairs.
TEAM USA Highlights:
10 Medals - 6 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze
2nd Place overall Gold Medals with 6 after Brazil with 12 and followed by Mexico with 4
TEAM USA PLAYERS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Team USA Competition
* Team USA finished in 2nd place with six gold medals after Brazil and followed by Mexico with four gold medals