San Salvador, El Salvador - The United States boy's table tennis team has one more chance of qualifying for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games at the Pan American Classifying Tournament. Michael Landers (Old Westbury, N.Y.) lost to Rodrigo Tapia of Ecuador, 4-3, in the best-of-seven finals competition.
Landers, who is the youngest athlete to win the U.S. National Championships men's singles title in December, built a 3-1 advantage over Tapia, before dropping the next three games. The 15-year-old American has one more day of competition in hopes of earning the final slot in the Pan American qualifying tournament.
In the first round on Tuesday, Landers defeated Andre Velasquez (Honduras), 3-1. Landers sprung back to his form in the quarter finals with a 4-1 victory over Columbia's Diego Ruiz. Landers blanked Cuba's Hector Sola, 4-0, in the semifinals.
Landers, who plays out of New York's SPiN Club, has a first-round bye on Wednesday and will face the winner of the David Vila (Dominican Republic) vs. Gustavo Gomez (Chile) match in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
No. 1 seed Ariel Hsing (San Jose, Calif.) dominated the girl's competition on Monday to qualify for the Youth Olympics. The American duo is coached by Lily Yip (Warren, N.J.), an elite-level coach for USA Table Tennis.
The Pan American Classifying Tournament, hosted at the Sports Palace, will conclude qualifying its last pair of male and female athletes for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games on Feb. 3. The top three athletes in boy's and girl's divisions will earn the right to represent their respective country this summer in Singapore.
The United States can qualify one boy and one girl to compete at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, Aug. 14-26. Table tennis will be one of 26 events contested at the inaugural multi-sport youth event. The international event will attract at least 5,000 athletes and officials from the 205 National Olympic Committees. The table tennis athletes will be between the ages of 15 and 16. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aims to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
For complete results of the second day of competition, click here.
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About USA Table Tennis: USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States. Created in 1933 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. Its staff serves the 9,000-plus members and nearly 300 clubs that are affiliated with USATT. It oversees a wide variety of membership services, the national teams, rules of the game and numerous online instructional and historical articles. USATT is governed and run by the nine-member board of directors, committees and professional staff. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the world governing body for table tennis, as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
U.S. RESULTS Day #2
Pan American Classifying Tournament
San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 1-3, 2010
Finals - Rodrigo Tapia (Ecuador) def. Michael Landers (Old Westbury, N.Y.), 4-3
Semifinals - Landers def. Hector Sola (Cuba), 4-0
Quarterfinals - Landers def. Diego Ruiz (Columbia), 4-1
Preliminary - Landers def. Andree Velasquez (Honduras), 3-1