Member Associations | 18 Nov 2023

SCHLAGER and LIU Jia crowned ÖTTV Athletes of the Century

Photo: a.c.schiffleitner / ÖTTV-Gala

On the occasion of its 100th birthday, the ÖTTV (Austrian Table Tennis Association) extended a warm invitation to the table tennis community and companions for an illustrious gala evening in Vienna City Hall. The event was thoughtfully infused with humor, featuring a cabaret ping-pong special by Comedy Hirten, and culminated in the recognition of red-white-red athletes of the century.

In the esteemed presence of Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister Werner KOGLER, European champion and six-time Olympian LIU Jia, and world champion Werner SCHLAGER were honored as athletes of the century. Rosa SCHWEIZER and Stanislaw FRACZYK, unfortunately, had to cancel at short notice due to illness but were declared winners in the categories of athletes of the century with disabilities. Manfred SCHWEIZER accepted the trophy on behalf of his late wife, who passed away in 1990, and FRACZYK was represented on stage by ÖTTV para national coach Johann KNOLL. The winners were determined through an audience and expert vote, with red-white-red sports greats Michaela DORFMEISTER, Thomas MORGENSTERN, and Clemens DOPPLER acting as laudators.

ETTU President Pedro MOURA and Secretary General Pierre KASS were also present at the ceremony. President MOURA was deeply moved by the special occasion and the extraordinary celebration.

"It was an absolute pleasure and honor to be present at the Gala for the celebration of the 100th birthday of the Austrian Federation. In ETTU, we have the motto to respect the past in order to build the future. Yesterday evening was full of joy and memories of top-class moments of Austria's best players. I felt honored to have the opportunity to talk with the last European player who won the title at the World Championships, Mr. Werner SCHLAGER, and to share the stage with him and LIU Jia."

"Finally, I want to congratulate the Austrian Table Tennis Federation for a hundred years full of success and wish them the next century full of success. I would also love to congratulate the Anniversary of the Federation to ÖTTV President Wolfgang GOTSCHE and extend my congratulations on a wonderful event. I wish him a great deal of success in the future," said ETTU President Moura.

Among the more than 400 guests and well-wishers, including former top players and the current ÖTTV national squad, notable figures such as Austria Sport President Hans NIESSL, ÖFB General Secretary Thomas HOLLERER, ÖPC General Secretary Petra HUBER, BMI group leader Günter MAREK, Philipp TRATTNER (head of the sports section in the BMI), ÖOC sports director Christoph Sieber, state parliament member Barbara PRAMMER, Upper Austria's state sports director Gerhard RUMETSHOFER, Irene STRÖCK, BSG managing director Clemens TRIMMEL, ex-top diver Marion REIFF, and multiple kickboxing world and European champion Nicole TRIMMEL were present.

ÖTTV Athletes of the Century:

  • Athlete of the Century: Werner SCHLAGER Also nominated: DING Yi, Richard BERGMANN
  • Female Athlete of the Century: LIU Jia Also nominated: Gertrude PRITZI, Sophia POLCANOVA
  • Disabled Athlete of the Century: Stanislaw FRACZYK Also nominated: Rudolf HAJEK, Andreas VEVERA
  • Athlete of the Century with Disabilities: Rosa SCHWEIZER (born Kühnel) Also nominated: Doris MADER, Stefanie KRENMAYER



"It's always nice to be able to recreate these moments from the 2003 World Cup final in Paris. But today it was even more special, especially since my then coach Ferenc KARSAI was also there. I enjoy being able to celebrate with my former teammates Karl JINDRAK and Kostadin LENGEROV."

LIU Jia:

"When I came to Austria, I never dreamed that I would one day be on stage in the Vienna City Hall. Now I am an athlete of the century. That's still incredible for me and I'm happy that I'm so popular in Austria. Now I want to do everything I can to ensure that the team can qualify for the Olympics. It will be extremely difficult, but I would love to play in Paris and be ready for my seventh Olympic participation."

Wolfgang GOTSCHE (ÖTTV President):

"To be able to hold a 100th anniversary celebration in this ambience of the Vienna City Hall – that was truly extraordinary and a real highlight for the sport of table tennis. We as ÖTTV were able to choose great athletes of the century: European champion Liu Jia and world champion Werner SCHLAGER as well as the para legends Rosa SCHWEIZER and Stanislaw FRACZYK are real role models."

The silver salver presented by ETTU was awarded to ÖTTV and on that occasion the two ETTU Badges of Honours were awarded to Austria’ s coach Jarek KOLODZIEJCZYK and President of Linz AG Froschberg Günther RENNER,