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European Championships - 11 Nov 2015

Stefan FEGERL enters the golden league

Austria’s player admitted the fatherhood changed him


Austria’s Stefan FEGERL made a great break through at the LIEBHERR 2015 European Championships earlier in October. He departed Ekaterinburg as the most successful player in the tournament with two gold medals, at Men’s Team and Men’s Doubles Events.


Austrian champion in Singles in 2010, 2011 and 2014, World Cup team runner up in 2015 and bronze medalists in Baku in the Men’s team Event at the European Games, Stefan FEGERL also represented Austria twice in the quarterfinals of the World Championships in Team’s Event and in both occasions lost against China.


“So far the result in Ekaterinburg is my major achievement. Not only best result for me, but by now no one from Austria won two gold medals at the same European Championships,” said FEGERL.


Did the success change you?


“Now I have more self-confidence. I am able to play in more relaxed style, but in the essence I remained the same. My focus is still on my family and hard work,” explained Stefan.


What is the reason for the main break through?


“It has been a long time since I play on the top level, but for a first time in Russia, I managed to cope well with the pressure. Four times I played the decisive match and I left the table victoriously. I played better and better match after match and at the end my performance was almost perfect. In the final of the Team Event I had match ball against Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and in decisive fifth match I beat Patrick BAUM 3:0. I have to say that our new coach QIAN Qianli did a great job. For a first time I played at the top level at the tournament; so far I managed to reach top level only in practice hall. In addition, I think that fatherhood makes me more mature and focused.”


QIAN Qianli led the team to their first title at the European Championships in the history of the tournament which first saw the light of day in 1958.


“The Austrian Team has a very good coach and the great team spirit. Everybody is aware of their position and we all fight for each other. Our target is a medal in Team Event in Rio 2016. Is will not be easy, but everybody will fight for that dream. I think we will stay in Austria and practice in the Werner SCHLAGER Academy. The conditions here are the best in Europe, so we do not need to go to work somewhere else.”


FEGERL is married to LI Qiangbing since 2013; they are together for nine years so far. Happy couple has a son – Louis, born on 13. August 2013.


“My wife is the most important person in my personal and table tennis life. She helps me a lot. She still does a great work at the trainings for me. I think, in Europe, she is one of the best coaches. She brought so many now-how from China. Her father Mr. LI Xiaodong did a great job teaching her.“


Dedication is the key word.


“Our son is now in the kindergarten and we can practice every morning together. In the afternoon, mostly LI takes care of Louis; I can practice twice and she takes care of the housework. Every day we make the plan what we must do. It will be impossible if we both are not the table tennis players. She also does great job as a mother. I am very proud, that my wife can handle all. After Louis has been born, my life really changed. I think only parents can understand that. The priorities now are the child and the family. I think now table tennis is not everything in my life and it gives me space to play more relaxed.”


Stefan admitted he has a lot of interests but very little time for it.


“I love to play cards, golf, football, chess…but I do not have enough time. I enjoy meetings with my family, father, mother, sister and two brothers,” said Stefan FEGERL.


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