Sadi ISMAILOV: Russia is going for medalsPhoto: ITTF
STAG European Under 21 Championships
This week, Sochi in Russia will host inaugural STAG European Under 21 Championships. We are only three days away from the tournament that gathers 55 men and 54 women, with the very top players from the rankings listed in Russia too. Top seeds are Anton KALLBERG of Sweden, Tomislav PUCAR of Croatia, Darko JORGIC of Slovenia, and among top 10 Russia’s best player Sadi ISMAILOV.
Sadi ISMAILOV won silver medal in Cadet Boys Doubles Event with Konstantin CHERNOV in 2011 at the European Youth Championships in Kazan, he is Men’s Singles event winner of 2015 Universiade, Gwangju, Korea Republic, Junior Boys` Singles runner-up at 2014 Cook Islands Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit, Avarua, Junior Boys` Singles winner at 2013 Serbian Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit in Vrnjacka Banja as well as Men’s Doubles event runner-up at 2016 ITTF World Tour Belarus Open in Minsk.
“ The preparations are in a full mode. The final training camp has already started in Sochi. Only few days left and we hope that everybody will be 100% ready before the start of the tournament,” stated Sadi.
-Are you excited about the tournament being held in Sochi?
“I am looking forward to this tournament because, as everybody know, home ground is always a big advantage and opportunity to show off in front of domestic fans. Sochi is already famous for hosting Olympics, but it could offer much more than that. Of course, you can`t really enjoy the Black Sea during winter period, but still could find a lot of interesting places to visit.”
What are you personal expectations?
“The expectations here are high and we all want to deliver success. Of course I want to succeed too, but only game will tell the full story. “
- How would you describe chances of Russian team?
“We have talented team and three of our players are seeded in Top 10, so of course we expect to get medals.”
- Who are your main rivals?
“ Our adversaries here are tough and I don`t really expect an easy walk even in the opening round. Obviously, you can look at top seeds and see huge potential out there. Some guys are already campaigning for their national teams. It says a lot!”
- How important is this tournament for table tennis community in Russia?
“It is a big event not only for Sochi, but for the whole table tennis community of Russia. It really shows that we are still at the top in terms of attracting big tournaments. The last time it was European Championships in 2015 and now we are here”, stated ISMAILOV.