Daniella Dodean (ROU)
2003 ITTF WJC Spanish Youth Open
Tigers are, I assume a rare breed in Romania.
If you want to be really sure to see one I recommend a visit to the city of Arad, located close to the Hungarian border in the southwest corner of Romania.
Just drop into the Table Tennis department of the club C.S.M Arad and ask for a young girl by the name of Daniella Dodean
I mean that you can see it in the eyes. Take a look and you will see the same glints of desire and determination that a young Vladamir Samsonov lived at the same age. Or for that matter stay a few hours and follow the young right-hander go to work in practice and you will find the real thing in terms of tempo, technique and force.
The ITTF Junior web tonight had the pleasure to dine with Daniella Dodean, 15 and her coach Dobai Valentine.
- I think most of all it relates to tradition. Throughout the years there have always been successful women players coming from Romania. I can go back to names like Ella Constantinescu and Eva Ferenzci. They showed the way to the generation of Badescu and Steff who now are role models for the next storm of young Romanian girls. Right now we have in the Cadet age group, four girls among the top eight on the European Cadet ranking. “ Even if we failed to win the team title at the European Youth Championships last year I am quite sure that we will conquer the title this summer”, says Dobai Valentine, National coach for Cadet girls.
Daniella Dodean is definitely one of the more interesting players in Europe at the moment. She stands out as one of the bigger hopes among a fairly large and interesting group of European girls ready to gain some ground in relation to the Chinese and Asian dominance of the sport. The A level selection for the ITTF /Olympic Solidarity project “With the future in mind" means extra support and more international opportunities for the 15- year-old.
“I like to play internationally. It is always exciting to practice and play with players that you don’t know. In my club there are still some good players to practice with. I play a lot with my older brother and one Japanese Coach/player in our club. But you need to get out and compete and play in order to improve,” says Daniella.
Even if the team event in last years European Championships was less of a success for Romania’s Daniella Dodean, she came back and won the cadet single title despite having one more year to go. It is clearly a determined young girl we are speaking with.
“In my dreams I have the Olympic games in Beijing 2008. I will do whatever I can to be there and to play my best table tennis when the time comes. I can see myself playing full time table tennis sooner than later in order to achieve my goals,” she says. “Right now I have to improve my physical side in order to maintain an up-tempo game that is my biggest force. I feel strong and confident when my game gets going, many girls seems to have problems returning my shots if I gain the attacks.”
The ITTF Junior Circuit event in Platja D Aro will be Daniella Dodeans first international tournament back after a quite troublesome period dominated by a muscle injury involving the right knee. She went under the knife in December and has since then clearly been troubled by the injury.
“I am trying to rebuild the strength in my knee by using special exercises to balance the muscle groups around it”, she explains.” For the moment I am OK. This will be my first competition for quite some time so my expectations are not the highest. Although I want to take part in the junior singles it still remains a possibility that we will go for the Cadet age instead.”
There you go, a young, strong minded, clever and hungry tiger from Romania. Watch out !
Note: Daniella Dodean, Romania, is one of sixteen young prospects selected to receive financial support from the ITTF /Olympic Solidarity Project “With the Future in mind” in 2003. The scholarships are attached to events included in the ITTF Global Junior Programme and has an operating budget of 80 000 US. Twelve recipients are this week attending the ITTF World Junior Elite Camp in Platja D Aro, Spain
Reporting live from Spain,