Last 4 ECH gold medalists to play in 2017/18 Seamaster European Champions League WomenPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
This Friday and Sunday Round 1 will be held, as top seed Tarnobrzeg presents its strong newcomer, Elizabeta SAMARA, Women`s Singles winner of the 2015 ITTF European Championships
Eight out of 12 clubs will open the 2017/18 Seamaster European Champions League Women, this Friday and Sunday (Sep 29, Oct 1): KTS Tarnobrzeg -TuS Bad Driburg (GROUP A, Sep 29 18:00 CET), BURSA BÜYÜKŞEHİR BELEDİYESPOR -Linz AG Froschberg (GROUP B, Oct 01 15:00 CET), Dr. ČASL - ALCL TT Grand-Quevilly (GROUP C, Oct 01 18:00 CET), TTC Berlin Eastside - SKST Mart Hodonin - Stavoimpex (GROUP D, Oct 01 14:30 CET).
The upcoming season should be one of the best in terms of world class players and equality of the teams. Fans in 12 table tennis cities of Old Continent will see last four individual European champions – HU Melek (2016 gold medalist, club Bursa), Elizabeta SAMARA (2015, Tarnobrzeg), LI Fen (2013, ALCL TT Grand-Quevilly) and Viktoria PAVLOVICH (2012, Tarnobrzeg), as well as last six finalists of the ECH Women`s Singles Event: HU beat YU Fu (Dr. CASL) in 2016, SAMARA defeated LI Jie (Dr. CASL), LI overcame SHAN Xiaona (Berlin).
Top seeded KTS Tarnobrzeg is clear favorite against Tus Bad Driburg in the opening round. Polish champion, last two seasons runner-up, signed Elizabeta SAMARA (current bronze medalist from 2016 European Championships) to improve its super defensive squad in last two seasons (HAN Ying, LI Qian, Viktoria PAVLOVICH).
KTS Tarnobrzeg: HAN Ying (World no. 9), Elizabeta SAMARA (no. 28), LI Qian (no. 45), Viktoria PAVLOVICH (no. 61), Andrea TODOROVIC, Kinga STEFANSKA and 13-year-old Julia SZCZEPANIK.
TuS Bad Driburg: Nina MITTELHAM (no. 108), Sarah DE NUTTE (no. 124), SU Yan, Nadine BOLLMEIER, Elena WAGGERMAYER, Linda VAN DE LEUR-CREEMERS.
Dr. CASL from the city of Zagreb, no. 3 seed, returns to the ECLW with its strongest team ever. They have two medalists from the LIEBHERR 2016 ITTF European Championships: FU Yu was runner-up, LI Jie took bronze. Croatian side hosts TT Grand Quevilly from France, with an option to present three World`s Top 40 players (third one is no. 32 DOO Hoi Kem).
Dr. CASL: LI Jie (World no. 24), DOO Hoi Kem (no. 32), YU Fu (no. 39), ZHOU Xintong (no. 122), Dorina SREBRNJAK, Mirela DURAK, Manca FAJMUT.
ALCL TT Grand-Quevilly: LI Fen (no. 53), KIM Hayeong, Barbora BALAZOVA, Galia DVORAK (no. 106), Oceane WATIGNY.
The 2016/17 ETTU Cup Women winner Bursa Buyukshehir Belediyespor(No. 4 seed) hosts double ECLW winner Linz AG Froschberg who will play without LIU Jia after many years. Actual individual champion of Old Continent HU Melek will be supported by two more strong players, Singapore's ZENG Jian and Russia's Yana NOSKOVA.
Bursa: ZENG Jian (World no. 19), HU Melek (no. 25), LEE Ho Ching (no. 42), Yana NOSKOVA (no. 93), Simay KULAKCEKEN (no. 331)
Linz: Sophia POLCANOVA (no. 44), ZHANG Mo (no. 57), Linda BERGSTROM (no. 159), HO Tin-Tin (no. 205), Lucia TRUKSOVA (no. 359).
Defending ECLW champion and four times winner TTC Berlin Eastside, actual no. 2 seed, opens new season against Czech Republic`s SKST Mart Hodonin – Stavoimpex. Coach Irina PALINA can count on the same superb line-up from last few seasons, SHAN Xiaona, Petrissa SOLJA, Georgina POTA, while strong Hong Kong`s player TIE Yana will be newcomer in the German side.
Berlin: SHAN Xiaona (no. 16), Petrissa SOLJA (no. 28), Georgina POTA (no. 31), TIE Yana (no. 35), Shiho MATSUDAIRA,
Hodonin: Natalia PARTYKA (no. 66), Renata STRBIKOVA (no. 100), Solomiya BRATEYKO (no. 213), Marketa SEVCIKOVA (no. 384), Katerina PENKAVOVA.
2017/18 Seamaster European Champions League Women, Round 1
GROUP A: KTS Tarnobrzeg -TuS Bad Driburg (Sep 29 18:00 CET)
GROUP B: BURSA BÜYÜKŞEHİR BELEDİYESPOR -Linz AG Froschberg (Oct 01 15:00 CET)
GROUP C: Dr. Časl - ALCL TT Grand-Quevilly (Oct 01 18:00 CET)
GROUP D: TTC Berlin Eastside - SKST Mart Hodonin - Stavoimpex (Oct 01 14:30 CET)