Kheith Rhynne Cruz reached another milestone for Philippine table tennis when she bagged the WTT Youth Contender Westchester 2024 U19 girls singles division in Pleasantville, New York.

The young prodigy who traces her roots from Pampanga and Bacolod defeated Lichen Chen of the United States, 11-5, 11-13, 11-8, 12-10, to capture the title, her second WTT (World Table Tennis) youth contender crown within an eight-month span after taking the Puerto Princesa final in October of 2023.

Cruz went 2-0 in Group 1 after beating Louise Fan of Canada and Rachel Wang of United States, both in straight sets, and won over Daymar Castro of Puerto Rico, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4, in the semifinals.

She also placed second in the U19 mixed doubles after she and Bosman Botha lost to Naresh Nandan and Rachel Wang, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9.

The Philippine Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) hailed Cruz’s latest feat, optimistic that she will continue to get better with the goal of qualifying for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“PTTF is really proud of Cruz accomplishments after winning two WTT Under 19 youth contender Championships in less than a year. We believe in her abilities, and with proper support, training and guidance, we believe that she is our best bet to represent the Philippines in the 2028 Olympics. She has a very bright future ahead of her,” said PTTF president Ting Ledesma.

The PTTF also thanked the Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Huaching Foundation for their support to Cruz and the federation’s programs.

Meanwhile, the PTTF also announced that the Huaching Invitational Tournament will not push through this year due to venue renovations.

Before finishing runner-up in the mixed doubles, Cruz and Botha beat Yashraj Shah and Amoolya Menon, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9, in the quarterfinals, and won over Krish Gandhi and Chen, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8, in the semifinals.

Cruz will continue to compete in the United States in the coming weeks as she is entered in the Westchester Open, Alabama Nationals, and the San Francisco WTT Youth Contender.