Jann Mari Nayre saw his medal bid in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games come to an end after dropping his match against Rio de Janeiro Olympian Kanak Jha of the United States yesterday at the Table Tennis Arena of the Technopolis in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jha swept Nayre in four sets, 13-11, 11-8, 15-13, 11-8, but not after encountering a strong resistance from the Filipino ace on his final match in Group B of the men’s singles preliminaries of the meet featuring the finest under-18 paddlers in the world.
Losing back-to-back matches after winning his opening game opposite Nicolas Burgos of Chile, the 18-year-old pride of Baybay, Leyte failed to advance in the round of 16 and bombed out of the tournament for good.
“Maganda ang nilaro ko kanina pero talagang magaling ang kalaban (Jha),” said Nayre, the first Filipino table netter to qualify in the Youth Olympics.
Jha, who ranks number-one in the world in the under-18 category, regularly plays in overseas meets held in America, Asia and Europe as well as Burgos and Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczyk, who clipped Nayre in four sets on Sunday.
“Crucial talaga ang laban ko against Austria. This is a learning experience para sa akin,” said Nayre, who made it to the quarterfinals of the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur last year and the round of 32 in the recent Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Korean coach Kwon Mi Sook, who mentored the late Ian Lariba in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games, was also credited for helping Nayre qualify in the YOG.
According to chef de mission and Philippine Olympic Committee auditor Jonne Go, Mi Sook helped spent for the training of Nayre out of her own pocket.
Filipino-Norwegian Christian Tio got into the top six out of 12 entries in the first round of the kiteboarding competitions while swimmer Nicole Oliva failed to advance to the finals of the women’s 100-meter freestyle event after landing sixth out of eight in her heat in 57.33 seconds.
Oliva, based in Sta. Clara, California, will swim in the heats of the 800m free on Wednesday while golfers Yuka Saso and Carl Jano Corpus will start their bid at the Hurlingham Club as well as fencer Lawrence Everett Tan in the men’s foil event.