Delayed European Table Tennis Championships set to start in Warsaw
The delayed European Table Tennis Championships are finally set to start in Warsaw, with the continent’s top stars hoping for a solid tournament as part of their final preparations for Tokyo 2020.
The European Table Tennis Union postponed the event last August due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the host country, Poland, as well as increased travel restrictions.
The tournament was originally scheduled to take place September 15-20.
With the European Championships organized a month before Tokyo 2020, it will be an opportunity for players to test their form before the Olympic Games.
Sweden’s Mattias Falck is entering the event as the top-ranked player in the men’s table, due to his eighth place in the world.
The 2019 World Championships silver medalist will be aiming for a first European title at the Arena COS Torwar.
German stars Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll will be among his main challengers for the title.
Ovtcharov has been crowned European champion twice, while Boll has won the event seven times, the last of which was in 2019.
“From a purely training standpoint, I have certainly never been able to better prepare for tournaments – this applies to both the European Championships and the Olympic Games,” said Ovtcharov.
“Even if the Olympics are still omnipresent, I see the European Championships as an important tournament in its own right and not just as a preparation.
“It is the biggest continental tournament and very prestigious.
“But of course everything is different this time: after that there will be no break and the Olympic preparation will continue straight away.”
The German Patrick Franziska, the French Simon Gauzy and the Austrian Robert Gardos are also among the seeds in the men’s singles.
Austria’s Sofia Polcanova is the number one seed in women’s singles.
The world number 17 could face competition from the Germans Petrissa Solja and Han Ying.
Romanians Bernadette Szocs and Elizabeta Samara hope to compete in the final stages, alongside Dutch Bitt Eerland and Ukrainian Margaryta Pesotska.
Defending champion Li Qian of Poland will miss the event due to injury.
The Germans Qiu Dang and Benedikt Duda lead the peloton in the men’s doubles, ahead of their teammates Franziska and Boll.
Slovakian Barbora Balazova and Czech Hana Matelova are the top seeds in the women’s doubles, with the former also seeded in the mixed doubles with Lubomir Pistej.