Perfect finish for team of GermanyPhoto: Francois Nel/Getty Images
HAN Ying, SHAN Xiaona and Petrissa SOLJA won the gold medal
Team of Germany enters the history books as first winners of the Women’s Teams Event at the European Games in Baku. In Azerbaijan’s city, HAN Ying, SHAN Xiaona and Petrissa SOLJA overcame team of Netherlands to become first ever title winners.
In the final, which went full distance, we saw the table tennis at its best. It started with the fantastic duel between world’s no. 10 HAN Ying and two times European champion LI Jiao. LI won in straight games but it was fantastic match.
“I was very nervous before that match, under enormous pressure. I wish to play against Jiao again soon; I doubt she will beat me like she did today. For sure it will not be worst than 0:3,” said HAN.
YING added that most of the pressure came from the fact that she plays for the team.
“It is much easier when you play in singles. You are on your own. When you play for your team and for your country it brings a lot of pressure. When I lost opening match I was happy that I had a chance to play in the decisive one, to contribute to the victory.”
SHAN Xiaona overcame LI Jie to put Germany back in game.
“Before the start we faced first defeat of HAN at the tournament at that made me very nervous. It was not very confortable situation,” said SHAN.
Match of doubles, once again, proved as crucial for the victory.
“When we won it I knew it is over, we will win gold. I was very focused in doubles, and I was much better then in next match against LI Jie. We were sure HAN would seal the match. However, when you won 3:2, you can easily say every match is crucial,” explained SOLJA.
Coach Jie SCHOPP gave overall view: “For us, most difficult part was to play in system which is not in use often. We are facing this kind of system only at the Olympics. That is why it was much harder then at the European Championships.”
LI Jiao proved she can play at the highest level, despite her long breaks from the playing field.
“I have not play at the International level since Tokyo last year. That is why I had to have little bit different preparations. I had to play clever, I have to outplay my adversary in mind game and that was not easy task. HAN is also very clever player. I always play good against defense and it helped too,” explained Jiao.
How the experience as a coach helped you today?
“A lot. Now I see things differently. Before I was nervous and I needed a lot of time to come down. Now I realize the adversary is nervous as I am and it is easier to prepare myself,” said LI Jiao.” We played good today, but at the end it was so difficult for Britt EERLANDS to beat HAN. ”
Coach Elena TIMINA praised her team.
“I am sure that the duel between LI Jiao and HAN was the match of the tournament. The quality level was fantastic. Jie was also good against SHAN, but other factors also did a work. At 1:1 and 7:7, in the moments when she played very good, Jie called for time out. She approached, and I asked why. She was playing good. Jie answered” I cannot see anything. Everything is black in front of me.” She was too tired.”
TIMINA is sure that was one of the biggest obstacles on their way to gold.
“Overall, Germany, with their three 3:0 victories, spent something like 2,5 hours in game. We played 8,5 in last three days. The girls were just tired. Of course, first of all, congratulations to Germany on their quality and ability to beat all adversaries 3:0. In addition this system does not allowed much tactics. I was forced to put Britt to play decisive match.”