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Other Events - 12 May 2013

Back to the place of successes


In a day we will return to where one European player made the last victorious run at the biggest global table tennis gathering. LIEBHERR World Championships to be held in Paris from Monday 13th May to Monday 20th May 2013 starts with record breaking numbe

In a day we will return to where one European player made the last victorious run at the biggest global table tennis gathering. LIEBHERR World Championships to be held in Paris from Monday 13th May to Monday 20th May 2013 starts with record breaking number of entries – a total of 511 men and 411 women from all six continents have entered the forthcoming Championships.

Bercy will open its doors to table tennis family once again – at the very same place, decade after last European has won the title at the World Championships. At the LIEBHERR World Championships in 2003 Austria’s Werner SCHLAGER clinched the Men’s Singles title against all odds.

Europeans are facing enormous challenge to repeat the SCHLAGER’s success. Only two years earlier, we witnessed a Chinese clean sweep of titles in Rotterdam. ZHANG Jike and DING Ning emerged as the respective Men’s and Women’s Singles champions, the Men’s Doubles event went the way of MA Long and ZHANG Jike, the Women’s Doubles to GUO Yue and LI Xiaoxia; whilst ZHANG Chao and CAO Zhen captured Mixed Doubles gold. It was the same outcome two years earlier in Yokohama; also in 2007 in Zagreb and in 2005 in Shanghai; China ruled supreme.

Now top four Chinese players are on duty again, led by currently ranked no. one player at ITTF lists XU Xin and reigning World and Olympic Champion ZHANG Jike.

Right behind leading Chinese quartet is the best ranked European player – Timo BOLL. Six time European singles Champion will lead six men German squad in France. Two years ago at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam, Timo BOLL enjoyed his best ever finish in the Men’s Singles event; he departed with a bronze medal to his name. At the quarter-final stage he defeated China’s CHEN Qi in five games, before losing by the same margin in the penultimate round to the champion elect, CHEN Qi’s colleague, ZHANG Jike.

In the team is also reigning European Top 12 winner Dimitrij OVTCHAROV. The 22 years old OVTCHAROV still do not have European singles title, but at the most prestigious event of all, Olympic Games, he excels. He won silver in the Men’s Team event at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and at the London 2012 Olympic Games secured bronze in both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Team events. No other European player, has won more; the nearest is two.

Sweden’s Jan-Ove WALDNER won Men’s Singles gold in Barcelona in 1992 and Men’s Singles silver in Sydney eight years later. He beat in the Barcelona final Jean-Philippe GATIEN of France who, in Sydney, secured Men’s Doubles bronze with Patrick CHILA.

World’s no. 11 Vladimir SAMSONOV will be third ranked European on duty in Paris. Three times European singles title winner experienced his World Championship high in Manchester 1997, when he has clinched the silver medal.

At the very same place Adrian CRISAN of Romania has his debut, before he reached his best performance at the World Championships in Osaka and Paris. On both occasions he reached the Round of 16. He is also one of Europe’s major challengers in the men’s events. Marcos FREITAS is Portugal’s leading player, the 25 year old stands at no.23 on the Men’s World Rankings.

In Paris another record will be set. In Paris jean Michel SAIVE will be making his 22nd appearance in a World Championships; his debut was in Tokyo in 1983 and ever since he has been present in the colours of Belgium.

 

Milica NIKOLIC, EWT

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