Member Associations | 23 Mar 2023

QIU and WINTER defending champions at the 91st National Championships in Nürnberg

Dang QIU and Sabine WINTER will defend their titles at the National German Championships. In the Kia Metropol Arena, a total of 32 women and 32 men compete in singles and 16 pairings in the doubles event for women, men and mixed for the five prestigious national titles. The seeding list is headed by individual European champion QIU (Düsseldorf) and the bronze medalist at the European Championships in Munich, Xiaona SHAN (Berlin).

QIU is currently the best of the German men in the world rankings. Of the start list in Nuremberg, there are currently eight men and six women among the top 150 in the world.

QIU travels to Nuremberg with a clear goal. "Of course I want to defend my title," he said. "But I also know that the husky competition is also very keen to take the title." His national team colleagues Patrick FRANZISKA (Saarbrücken), Benedikt DUDA (Bergneustadt), QIU'S doubles partner and German singles champion in 2021, and the 2019 title winner Ricardo WALTHER (Grünwettersbach), for example.

Speaking of doubles, DUDA/QIU have a special goal in mind: "Let's see if we can break our own record and win for the sixth time in a row," says QIU. The duo has been undefeated at national championships since 2018, even leaving the legendary world doubles champions Steffen FETZNER/JÖRG ROSSKOPF behind.

One who has already won ten medals at German championships is still waiting for individual title number one. "So far, all my attempts at the title have failed. Of course, it would be really nice if it would work out once - maybe already this year," says the Olympic silver medalist with the Tokyo team, Patrick FRANZISKA. And last year's World Team Championship silver medallist Benedikt Duda reveals: "Becoming German champion is something really special! The title not only sounds great, it also feels that way. I'm going to Nuremberg to take it for a second time. It is such a nice feeling that I definitely want to experience this again."

Sabine WINTER achieved a long-cherished dream when she won the title last year. The bronze medalist at the European Championships will now have the Bavarian audience behind her as she did at the European Championships in Munich: "I'm always playing better in a great atmosphere. That helped me a lot at the European Championships in Munich.“ Along the way, WINTER is aiming for a record in doubles. If the two-time European doubles champion, who remarkably has won her six national titles so far with five different partners, wins her seventh title in this competition, she would be the sole record holder in this event, ahead of Nicole Struse, who is currently tied. Winter would like to break the record, but it is not decisive for her motivation: "Winning the title is a goal completely independent from the record. But if it falls, of course I'll be happy to take it." Her doubles partner this time is U19 national player Sophia KLEE. Additionally, WINTER is seeded first in the mixed doubles with clickball-Masters-Champion Alexander FLEMMING.

The top seed in the singles in Nuremberg is WINTER'S national team colleague Xiaona SHAN. The world number 32 won the singles title in 2013 and 2014 and is also a two-time doubles title holder. Shan has won two medals in each of her four participations in national championships so far.

The youngest of the favourites is 16-year-old Annett KAUFMANN. With her tournament win at the WTT Feeder Düsseldorf in February, the high school student from Böblingen impressively proved that she is already capable of winning important events in women's singles, too. So far the teenager has already become bronze medalist twice at German Championships, but she wants more - one day: "There are so many good and experienced German players competing. That's why I'm just trying to play my best table tennis and learn a lot this time as well. Let's see how this will end up."

HAN Ying, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and Nina MITTELHAM have had to cancel their participation in the German Championships at short notice. Grand Smash quarter-finalist Han explained: "I am very sorry for the spectators, and I myself actually enjoy playing in front of a home crowd. But it was a very tiring, though successful, week for me in Singapore." Reflecting on her age, the 39-year-old world's best defender added: "I have to manage my powers in the meantime and need a break first of all."

After his first-round exit at the Singapore Smash, six-time Olympic medalist OVTCHAROV is taking a longer training phase before the WTT Champions tournament in Xinxiang, China (9-15 April), which was added to the international tournament calendar at short notice. Nina MITTELHAM continues to sufferwith a knee injury. "I have an inflammation in my knee and some water in it," said the three-time singles champion, who had already competed in Singapore with pain. "That's when I benefited from the fact that there was only ever a match every two days."


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