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Only potential Olympians allowed to practice in Slovakia during lockdown

Current moment is very difficult for the sport in Slovakia- especially for the table tennis. Only 5 professional sports are allowed to organise their top leagues. Table tennis, unfortunately, is not included.

 From 21st December it is not possible to practice and already all the leagues in most of the sports were stopped very early. A table tennis championship was halted after second round – in October.

The lockdown should be cancelled probably on 7th of February. In Slovakia, players hope that situation will be better and they will be able to return to the table tennis halls from that date - if not for playing matches, at least for practice.

The best players – which have professional contracts can have a usual practice, but without strong sparring partners. It includes only a small number of players.

The National Slovak Championships is postponed to unspecified date. In National Association, they hope for new dates in May or June – it depends from the situation and the international calendar which is now unknown.

In many European countries the table tennis associations can play their top leagues and have exceptions for practice for the national representation in all categories. In Slovakia, only the potential participants of Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 can play.

Jaromír TRUKSA, Slovak men's national team coach and member of the Executive committee STTA stated: „Our best player Yang WANG has a problem with restrictions in China and we have really problems with his traveling to Europe. He is a Slovak citizen but he went to visit his family to China. He was in quarantine for 4 weeks. It is very long time without practice. It is really hard situation for our Slovak team and for their preparation for Olympic Games qualification.“

Zdenko KRÍŽ, president of the STTA added: „It is big success, that Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee negotiated with Slovak Government especially for official Decrees for our 4 candidates of start on the Olympic Games in Tokyo. They will have from now better conditions for high level practice and priority for vaccination against COVID-19.“