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European Games - 16 Jun 2015

ETTU President praises organizers in Baku

Ronald KRAMER: Apart from the replacement rule we can be very satisfied with the Games

Halfway through the table tennis competition in the Baku Sports Hall at the European Games in Baku, ETTU President Ronald KRAMER praises the efforts of the organizers in Azerbaijan. Two sets of medals, in Men's and Women's Teams Event are distributed and it seems that all systems successfully passed the test.

"Hosts are doing a very good job here in Azerbaijan staging the first multisport event in their short history. They are a young independent nation and it is not easy to take up the challenge they did. I want to complement the Azerbaijan organizers and the EOC for staging the event here and taking up the challenge on this big event," stated President KRAMER at the beginning of the interview.

Not all sports are present with the top-level athletes in Baku, but table tennis is among the ones that came here with all the top European players.

"The differences between the sports are large. Some of federations sent juniors, whilst others came here to fight to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games with their top players. I can understand that. For a first time we are at such an event. It is something completely new for all European federations. To fit it into the calendar was not an easy task. We have the same problem, but for swimming and athletics are probably bigger. It is normal to allow some differences for a first time, " stated ETTU's President.

Speaking of good points of the European Games, KRAMER said:

"For Europe it is very good to have these Games, like Asia, Africa and the Americas have it. It adds to our opportunities and it makes our sport more visible to the public. However, there are of course also lessons to be learned from this first experience, for 2019. We will evaluate the whole tournament. Now we are just halfway in the table tennis, and in first quarter of the Games....We will see what could be done better, and learned for future. We have four years to implement some necessary changes."

Regarding table tennis, President highlighted few points.

"The facility is very good; just the right size for our events. There are a lot of details we can talk about, but my general feeling is that everything is very well done. However, there is one big exception to this: the tournament does not allow the replacements. It has been a subject, of which we were talking a lot in building up the event from last quarter of 2014, but one way or another the organizers did not want to allow the replacements. That hit the German team the most here. I am quite sure that they would have progressed further then they did, if they would be allowed to have a replacement. Timo BOLL was ill and it was a mistake not to give the team the opportunity to select another player for the game. "

President KRAMER continued:

"Unfortunately that is something that is not in our hands and it is one of the lessons learned for 2019 which - and I find this very disappointing - will not be in Netherlands.  In principal, the European Games has a good concept that we have to develop further. Most important is to give it a proper place in the calendars. In 2019, some major federations have already set the dates for their biggest events. If you look in that terms I think that in year 2023 you can implement this Games into the calendar on proper way and I am sure we will have the competition that can level other Continental Games with the high level competitors in each sport for that date. "

One of the major points of the big events are the volunteers.

"Volunteers are getting better each day. First day was toughest as it is on every major event, but the good thing is that for many of them this is not a first experience. Organizers did it very cleverly to take experienced staff, especially in volunteering leading positions. The volunteers are very helpful, they are enjoying their work and that helps building the whole good atmosphere at the games. Apart from the replacement issue we can be very satisfied with the Games."

As President of the ETTU, Ronald Kramer praises the German team – but as a President of the Netherlands TTA , may also have regretted that his compatriots lost.

"I congratulate the team of Germany with the title at the team's event. It was very close. You can differ about how it went but in my opinion it all came down to the three or four balls in the doubles. In the third game if they would have fallen on the other side it might be very different," says President Kramer.

The winners in men's Teams Event are the European champions – Portugal.

"Portugal did what they have to do regarding the fact that Germany suffered from the setback with no replacement. On the other side, Portugal was also weakened by absence of Joao MONTEIRO. The good news is that we have a new kid on the block. Joao GERALDO showed brave performance. Portugal justified their status. After the title in Portugal at the European Championships last year they presented table tennis at the highest level here, once again. They deserved this title and the place in history books as first winners. "

The history book is open and table tennis has a prominent place in it!

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