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Champions League Men - 23 Aug 2013

Long-term project fits to Slobodan GRUJIC


Four times Olympian, Serbian Slobodan GRUJIC continues his table tennis mission in Germany. Three weeks ago he was appointed as new coach of 2012 German Cup winner Saarbrucken, but at the same time he is responsible for Tibhar`s training center at that ci

Four times Olympian, Serbian Slobodan GRUJIC continues his table tennis mission in Germany. Three weeks ago he was appointed as new coach of 2012 German Cup winner Saarbrucken, but at the same time he is responsible for Tibhar`s training center at that city and for Table Tennis Association of Saarland. Today, August 24th, he celebrates his 40th birthday. Any special wishes?
As always, just good health for me and my family. Of course, I wish the same to everybody. My wife and both my sons are involved in table tennis which is my life. U’m spending all my life in table tennis hall, I am enjoying it and I would like to continue as long as possible”.

GRUJIC was born at well known Serbian table tennis city of Novi Sad, the host of 1981 World Championships, when he was just eight year-old. At that time his country (former Yugoslavia) was playing a very important role in table tennis, as the great Dragutin SURBEK took three bronze medals.

Slobodan was individual cadet (Athens 1987) and junior (Granada 1991) European champion. Together with Aleksandar KARAKASEVIC reached double’s quarter final on 2004 Olympic Games at Athens, his last Olympics. He spent the last 16 years in Germany, having short break at Turkey. In his best days he won twice, year by year (2005, 2006), Men’s European Champions League with TTV RE-BAU Gonnern, alongsideTimo BOLL and Jorg ROSSKOPF. He will always remember those days and the two victories against Vladimir SAMSONOV in MECL finals against Royal Villette Charleroi. I spent eight years in Gonnern and two in Pluderhausen. Of course, the final games against Charleroi were something special. Nobody expected that I could beat SAMSONOV once, let alone twice. People used to ask me about those matches till now”.

During the last three weeks, GRUJIC tested over 10 players in Tibhar`s training center at Saarbrucken. He signed five-year contract and he is very satisfied with development of table tennis in Saarland, the region which is very proud on its unique Olympic medallist, ping-pong star Bastian STEGER. Beside all duties at Saarbrucken, GRUJIC is also involved in one sport’s school, developing “The nest of talents” (players from 10 to 12 year-old). Both his sons, Nikola and Aleksandar, are members of that school, and his wife is also involved in Saarland`s Table Tennis Association.

Speaking about the Saarbrucken`s goals in upcoming season (the club is in MECL Group B, beside UMMC, Pontoise and Eslov, first match on September 6th, against Eslov, on home soil), Slobodan GRUJIC explained: We have equal players in the line-up – STEGER, TOKIC and APOLONIA – Our aim is MECL quarter final and Bundesliga`s play-off. For us is very important to improve the club step by step, to develop Saarbrucken at any level. That’s the reason why I have signed a  five-year contract”.

Alex MILETIC, EWT

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