Defeat at the hands of Singapore in the final of the Women’s event at the Liebherr World Team Championships in May 2010 was sensational news; when China loses it is news, big news.
The reaction, in an ironic way, pays great credit to China; they are expected to win. Such reactions salute their coaching system, the outstanding quality of their players, the depth of talent.
Currently they are practising at the Werner Schlager Academy in preparation for the Liebherr World Team Championships which commence in Dortmund on Sunday 25th April 2012; for those who attend the Academy on a regular basis it is a golden opportunity.
It is a tremedous opportunity to sample the atmosphere and gain the experience of training with and alongside the very best on planet earth.
Glittering Junior Career One such player seizing the opportunity is Romania’s Daniela Dodean; the winner of seven ITTF Junior Circuit Girls’ Singles titles, including the Finals in 2004.
Additionally she was crowned Cadet Girls’ Singles champion at the European Youth Championships in 2002 and the Junior Girls’ Singles champion in both 2005 and 2006; she is very much a player on whose shoulders European hopes rest on the international scene.
Second Chance Just under one year ago when the Chinese National Team visited the Werner Schlager Academy to prepare for the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam, Daniela Dodean was present at the training sessions.
Once again, in 2012, she is present again; she spoke to Don Olsen from the Werner Schlager Academy
The Donn Olsen Interview
What are your general thoughts about these training experiences?
“It could not have been better! I would go to China or anywhere else to have this opportunity, so for them to be in my own club is really the very best. I am a bit disappointed that I will miss some of the training because I need to leave for Romania to train with my national team, but every moment with my Chinese friends is precious.
I hope this is not the last time they visit.”
You have trained with many players from around the world. What do you find are the technical differences between these top Chinese players and other players?
“They always do the right thing at the right time, every time. Whether it is the use of speed or spin or power or placement, it is the correct thing for the situation; this is the big difference to me, so you cannot benefit from the types of mistakes others make. That is why, when I play the Chinese players, I enjoy to the maximum every point I win because it is so difficult.”
Is there any special approach you take when you train with the Chinese team members?
“I try to learn from them; their standard is so high that I can benefit from watching what they are doing during our play.”
Many times in sport, the best athletes are not always the most agreeable people to interact with. What have been your personal experiences with these top-of-the-world players?
“I have only nice words to say about them. They are always very respectful to me, with never a problem. They are always ready with a smile and are polite all the time. They are nicer than the Europeans, in general.
I think they are the best ambassadors for the sport. We are very lucky that way. They are good people in their hearts.
A Chinese coach told me a long time ago that you cannot get to the top of this sport without being good inside, without having a good heart; that is how all my friends on the Chinese national team are; good inside with a good heart. I have only wonderful feelings and thoughts about them.”
Daniela Dodean, very much at home in the state-of-the-art Werner Schlager Academy Photo Don Olsen