Olympic Games | 11 Jul 2024

Europe's players Gear Up for the Olympics

All over Europe, and for some Europeans - over Asia, the table tennis players qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris are spending their last weeks preparing for the greatest sporting event. Starting on July 27th, we will witness another great finale of the four-year cycle.

Timo BOLL, who made his first Olympic Games appearance at Sydney 2000, will become only the sixth table tennis player to play at seven different Olympic Games, joining Jörgen PERSSON, Zoran PRIMORAC, Jean-Michel SAIVE, Segun TORIOLA, and Olufunke OSHONAIKE. One Olympics short of that record, Greek player Panagiotis GIONIS will be participating in his sixth.

GIONIS went through an agonizing qualification tournament in Bosnia and Herzegovina to secure his spot in singles. He announced his plans for the pre-Olympic days:

“I will be in Düsseldorf from the 8th to the 14th and then I will go to Denmark for another week of training. In Paris, my goal is to make one step higher than last time. That means I would like to reach the top 16, and then, I think everything is possible,” said PANAGIOTIS.

The Danish team secured their spot for the 2024 Olympics in Paris by performing well at the ITTF World Team Championships held in Busan, South Korea. The top quarterfinalist teams from this championship earned automatic qualification for the Olympics.

One of the members of that team is Anders LIND. We contacted him for a quick update on how the preparations are going.

“The team is together on duty practicing in Denmark. We have a lot of 'guests' from other countries coming as well,” said LIND. “My goal is to go and enjoy. It is my first Olympics and I want to go and play the best table tennis I ever have.”

The female table tennis player who will have the most Olympic appearances at the Paris 2024 Olympics is Xialian NI of Luxembourg. Paris 2024 will mark her sixth Olympic appearance, having previously competed in 2000, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. With one appearance less is Romania’s Elizabeta SAMARA, who has been competing in the Olympics since Beijing 2008. Romania also secured its place in the team event after their success at the World Championships in Busan.

“We have had a frantic summer so far. Since May 25th, we have been working in our training camp in Bucharest, and then we went to competitions in China, then Zagreb, Slovenia, and back home for another training camp. Last week we were at the tournament in Bangkok. We will fly to Paris on July 21st,” said SAMARA.

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