Markus Baisch (left) and Judit Farago (right) oversee matters at the draw in Dortmund
Photo By: Hubert Guériau
LIEBHERR 2012 World Team Table Tennis Championships (Click here to access this section)
Victory by Singapore over China in the final of the women’s event at the LIEBHERR World Team Championships in May 2010 stunned the table tennis world; it overshadowed all other accomplishments enacted during the eight days of play.
It overshadowed what was an outstanding performance by Germany, silver medallists in the Men’s Team event, bronze medallists in the counterpart women’s competition.
At the forthcoming LIEBHERR World Team Championships, to be staged in Dortmund from Sunday 25th march to Sunday 1st April 2012, they will provide daunting opposition.
Furthermore, with passionate crowd in support, who knows what heights they may achieve?
The mind goes back to Bremen in 2006; the tumultuous welcome the German Men’s Team received, when the marched out to face China in the semi-finals was quite unprecedented.
It even surprised Timo Boll and he has witnessed more big occasions than most.
Need to be Prepared
Thus, whoever faces Germany in Dortmund better be well prepared; three players in a team, Germany has a fourth, the crowd.
The Czech Republic and France better be well prepared.
They face Germany in the opening matches in the Championship Division of the Men’s and Women’s Team events following the draw made in Dortmund on Wednesday 22nd February 2012.
The people they must thank for their fate are Norbet Dickel, a former footballer with Borussia Dortmund and Annegret Richter, 100 metres Olympic gold medallist in 1976; they made the draw alongside Jörg Rosskopf and Jie Schöpp the respective Men’s and Women’s German National Team coaches.
Proceedings were conducted by Didier Leroy (ITTF Competition Manager), Markus Baisch (Deputy Referee), Judit Farago (ITTF Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director - Competitions) and Thomas Weikert (German Table Tennis Association President).
Added to Occasion
Also present to add to the occasion was Rackedino, the event mascot. Furthermore, Florian Wagner and Yuko Imamura, both current members of the German Junior National Team, competed against veteran players using rackets and dressed in costumes of over a century ago.
Of course Markus Baisch made sure the rackets in question underwent strict racket testing!
Totally different eras but is that racket legal? Photo by Hubert Guériau
History and of course Dortmund has a special place in German table tennis history; it is where in 1989 Jörg Rosskopf and Steffen Fetzner were crowned World Men’s Doubles champions.
A well organised draw ceremony, it was opened with images of the two celebrating their success.
“The draw is not the decisive thing for us; it is important for us to play well and win the group”, said Jörg Rosskopf. “It’s important that we do our homework properly, at World Championships many things can happen”.
Very true, just ask Singapore’s women.
“I hope we can avoid negative surprises on our side and maybe it is on us to cause a positive surprise; it is generally important to have a good crowd on your back who strongly supports you”, added Jörg Rosskopf with a touch of nostalgia. “In 1989 when Steffen Fetzner and me won the gold medal in doubles the German spectators in Dortmund were very, very important for us; Dortmund was and is a special place but most of my players are too young to have any memories of 1989, they are ready to write history themselves this year.”
Too young to remember and one team that is too young is Portugal, they are in the same group as Germany, a fact of which Timo Boll was acutely aware.
"I wouldn't have wanted to be in the Chinese group; we cannot complain about our draw but it's not easy anyway”, he said. “At the European Championships in Gdansk we experienced how dangerous Portugal can be for us; also in Singapore there are some new players whom we don't know so well yet.”
Clearly Timo Boll is taking nothing for granted.
“We have to take care in every match; we know the Spanish, Czech and Serbian teams well and have often played them”, he added. “We mustn't underrate any of our opponents, having a home match is no guarantee for success."
No guarantee but it helps!
Second Place Goal
“We have the chance to become the runner up in our group”, said Jie Schöpp, Germany being drawn in the same group as Japan.
“All our players are in shape and fortunately not injured; in one month’s time I hope my players will even be in better shape”, continued Jie Schöpp. “Japan has a very even team with many good players on the same level; they are the favourites in Group C but on a good day with the support of the German crowd we will have our chances against them.”
All smiles from coaches and guests in Dortmund Photo by Hubert Guériau
Equally, Irene Ivancan recognised the quality of Japan.
"It's a relatively even group, it could have been worse for us, Japan as the top seed of our group is welcome even though we should not focus completely on this match only”, she said. “We have to give 100 per cent every match, must not underrate any of our opponents."
Meanwhile, Thomas Weikert was more philosophical.
“Whether the draw is good or bad from the German point of view, we can only judge that after the World Championships”, he said.
Play Defending Champions
A good draw or a bad draw; perhaps Turkey and Greece may believe the latter, both meet defending champions in their opening matches.
In the Women’s Team event, Turkey meets Singapore, in the counterpart men’s competition, Greece faces Turkey.
A total of 121 men teams and 95 women teams will compete in the Liebherr 2012 World Championships to be staged in Dortmund’s Westfalenhallen.
The top table at the Draw Ceremony in Dormund Photo by Hubert Guériau
Championship Division – Stage One
Men’s Team Event:
Group A: China, Hong Kong, Sweden, Greece, DPR Korea, Slovenia
Group B: Germany, Portugal, Singapore, Czech Republic, Spain, Serbia
Group C: Korea, Austria, France, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Hungary
Group D: Japan, Russia, Croatia, Belarus, Poland, Slovak Republic
Women’s Team Event:
Group A: China, Romania, Hungary, Belarus, Ukraine, U.S.A.
Group B: Singapore, Netherlands, Chinese Taipei , Turkey, Korea DPR, Sweden
Group C: Japan, Germany, Poland, Spain, Serbia, France
Group D: Hong Kong, Korea Republic, Russia, Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia
Complete First Stage Draw
For full draw made in Dortmund on Wednesday 22nd February 2012 for the Liebherr World Team Championships visit: LIEBHERR 2012 World Team Table Tennis Championships