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SAMSONOV: I have great training group in Zagreb

Legend of European table tennis in training with the Croatian national team


At the beginning of October, SAMSONOV played at the Zagreb Open at the Dom Sportova and won it. A little less than two months after that tournament, Vladimir SAMSONOV, the legend of European table tennis, is in Zagreb again. There are no tournaments this time, but one of the greatest Belarusian athletes in Zagreb has decided to train.


The venue is Medarska, the National Table Tennis Center of the Croatian men's national team and home to one of the most trophy-winning Croatian clubs, GSTK Zagreb.


"I plan to play a tournament in Spain, and when I was looking for a training location, I decided to contact CTTA director Renato ČENGIĆ and Croatian coach Neven KARKOVIĆ. We agreed quickly and I am very grateful to CTTA for allowing me to train here," said SAMSONOV.


It should come as no surprise that SAMSONOV chose Zagreb as his training destination. Realistically, the Croatian national team has an excellent training group, one of the strongest in Europe. Three players are among the Top 100 in the world, Tomislav PUCAR is 37th in the world, Andrej GAĆINA 47th, Frane KOJIĆ 90th, and there are two others who are knocking on the Top 100, WEI Shihao (191.) and Filip ZELJKO (276.). There is also the national team member Filip ČIPIN, promising junior Ivor BAN, as well as some other occasional former national team members and one of the best young European players, Romanian Rares SIPOS.


"Croatia has a very good group of players and I have a very good sparring here. There may be more players in Düsseldorf and Saarbrücken, but I have just as good conditions here as everywhere else in Europe. Also, I personally love Zagreb, which is a very practical city. With all this here is quite a large airport, which is well connected with the rest of Europe. Even today, in this chaotic time of the coronavirus pandemic," SAMSONOV will add.


The arrival of Samson to the Croatian national team is a recognition that they are doing well and that it looks good on the outside.


"On who is Samson in the World of table tennis we should not spend too much words. By preparing for the tournament here, he shows some confidence that he will get what he is looking for. Playing all the Pro Tours and the European Championship in Zagreb, Samson approached our table tennis and CTTA. He won a number of tournaments here, and we know from his story that he is happy to come to Zagreb. He practically speaks our language and that is another thing that can connect us more easily. While we have a great training group, our guys from the national team are great when someone comes from the sidelines, especially a player like SAMSONOV. Also, the kids who train here could see he live in training. All this brings more quality to our sport and it is a good story. What we hope is that in the future, as far as his obligations allow, SAMSONOV will come to training periodically, which he said in a way. Such cooperation is very good news for us," added Neven KARKOVIĆ, head coach of the Croatian national team.


Samsonov also confirmed that we will see him more often in Zagreb.


"I hope we will continue to cooperate. Like I said before, this is a really good place to train for me. Also, I have a lot of friends in Zagreb, such as Zoran PRIMORAC, Dubravko and Spomenko ŠKORIĆ, Goran ŽUFAR, Zlatko ČORDAŠ, Mario AMIŽIĆ and I am happy to return here," concluded the 44-year-old Belarusian, who holds 26th place in the world.


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