Thursday, December 16, 2021

World medal summary & World Games qualifiers

The 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships ended last week in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and the IRF World Junior Championships were already underway in Guatemala, so we didn’t have a chance to do a summary of the Worlds medalists, and what the team standings were.

Mexicans won three of the four divisions with Paola Longoria winning both Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles with Samantha Salas. Those were Longoria’s 4th titles in both singles and doubles, which made her the winningest player in IRF World Championships history. Also the Longoria-Salas partership is the winningest in World Championship history. Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya won Men’s Doubles, which was the third straight title for Mexico and seventh overall.

The USA’s Alejandro Landa win in Men’s Singles - his first World Championship - was the only title Mexico didn’t claim. Yet the USA won the overall team title. They won the Men’s title, and were second in the Women’s title race, and that combined for them to take first overall.

That might be difficult to understand, and the IRF hasn’t posted the breakdown in points. But in Men’s Singles, the USA won and finished in quarterfinals, while Mexico also had a quarterfinal finish, but Montoya lost in the Round of 16 - to the USA’s Jake Bredenbeck. In doubles, Mexico won and the USA was in the semi-finals. The difference between winning singles and a 16s finish is greater than winning and a semi-final finish, so advantage USA.

On the women’s side, Mexico won singles and finished in the quarterfinals (when Longoria defeated Salas) with the USA finishing 2nd (Kelani Lawrence) and in the semi-finals (Lawrence beating Rhonda Rajsich). In doubles, Mexico beat the USA in the final. Both the women’s and men’s team points must have been close, and apparently the difference in the men’s points was slightly greater than the difference in the women’s points, so the USA takes the overall title.

World Games qualifying

This year’s World Championships was also the qualifying event for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama next July. Sixteen players qualified for Birmingham, and it’s the players who qualify, not their countries. Thus, if one of the 16 can’t go to Birmingham, then the next qualifying player will be invited, rather than a country substituting another player for the player who can’t go. Thus, only players who were at Worlds will be in Birmingham.

There were matches to determine the ranking of all the players in men’s and women’s singles to determine the top qualifiers (the World Games racquetball competition involves singles only, not doubles). For example, Natalia Mendez of Argentina and Rhonda Rajsich of the USA played off after they both lost in the semi-finals of Women’s Singles. They both got bronze medals, because they’d reached the semis, but for World Games purposes, they played to determine who would be the 3rd seed and who would be 4th. Rajsich won that match, 15-12, 15-6, and qualifies 3rd for Birmingham.

We have a complete list of the qualifiers for you below. Note that as we’d mentioned prior to the competition, two positions were granted to players from both Asia and Europe. Thus, the other players were vying for the top 12 spots (assuming no withdrawals).

There should be some tasty matches at the World Games. In Guatemala, Alejandro Landa benefited by the top seeding - based on past USA results at Worlds - but in Birmingham he could face Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) in the quarterfinals and then either Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) or Jake Bredenbeck (USA) in the semis. That’s not an easy route to the final.

On the women’s side, the bottom of the draw seems more competitive with Samantha Salas (Mexico) and Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) looking to faceoff right off the bat with the winner likely taking on the USA’s Kelani Lawrence. The winner (survivor?) of all that will likely face one of Rhonda Rajsich, Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) or Cristina Amaya (Colombia). Again, not an easy route to the final.

All in all, it should make for some great matches in Birmingham next July.

20th IRF World Championships
November 29-December 6 - Guatemala City, Guatemala

Men's Singles Medalists

GOLD - Alejandro Landa (USA)
SILVER - Andres Acuña (Costa Rica)
BRONZE - Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) & Mario Mercado (Colombia)

Women's Singles Medalists

GOLD - Paola Longoria (Mexico)
SILVER - Kelani Lawrence (USA)
BRONZE - Natalia Mendez (Argentina) & Rhonda Rajsich (USA)

Men's Doubles Medalists

GOLD - Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico)
SILVER - Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
BRONZE - Alejandro Landa & Charlie Pratt (USA) & Andres Gomez & Mario Mercado (Colombia)

Women's Doubles Medalists

GOLD - Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico)
SILVER - Erika Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich (USA)
BRONZE - Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) & Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez (Argentina)

Men’s Team Standings

1. USA
2. Mexico
3. Bolivia
4. Costa Rica

Women's Team Standings

1. Mexico
2. USA
3. Argentina
4. Guatemala

Overall Team Standings

1. USA
2. Mexico
3. Bolivia
4. Argentina

2022 World Games Qualifiers - Men’s Singles

1. Alejandro Landa (USA)
2. Andres Acuña (Costa Rica)
3. Mario Mercado (Colombia)
4. Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
5. Jake Bredenbeck (USA)
6. Andree Parrilla (Mexico)
7. Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador)
8. Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala)
9. Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico)
10. Diego Garcia (Argentina)
11. Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica)
12. Shai Manzuri (Argentina)
13. Kim Mingyu (South Korea)
14. Ken Cottrell (Ireland)
15. Lee Gunhee (South Korea)
16. Eoin Tynan (Ireland)

2022 World Games Qualifiers - Women’s Singles

1. Paola Longoria (Mexico)
2. Kelani Lawrence (USA)
3. Rhonda Rajsich (USA)
4. Natalia Mendez (Argentina)
5. Angelica Barrios (Bolivia)
6. Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
7. Samantha Salas (Mexico)
8. Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala)
9. Carla Muñoz (Chile)
10. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina)
11. Cristina Amaya (Colombia)
12. Michèle Morissette (Canada)
13. Sumin Lee (South Korea)
14. Aisling Hickey (Ireland)
15. Majella Haverty (Ireland)
16. Ayako Hanashi (Japan)

Follow the bouncing ball....

1 comment:

Todd Boss said...

that's the spreadsheet I put together to explain the Team rankings. USA by just 4 points over Mexico. Bolivia 3rd and i had Argentina in 4th combined. I can't imagine Costa Rica finishing 4th b/c they had zero women competing. But you're right; until we see the results publicized (irf has not doen that for worlds OR for juniors) its all speculation on my part.