by Simon Daish
Uphill Journey, but Samara Expected to Shine
The 2015 European Championships final saw a tremendous comeback victory from Elizabeta Samara, who required the full seven game distance to see off Lie Jie (NED) to take the crown. Now one year later Samara enters the upcoming Championships as the Women’s Singles champion, but will she still be holding the title of European champion as the 2016 competition is drawn to a close?
Han Ying (GER), Liu Jia (AUT) and Hu Melek (TUR) are just three of the six names positioned above the Romanian in the Women’s Singles seeding list for the Budapest tournament, and with an early exit from the recent Women’s World Cup to her name Samara could find the task of defending her European Championship trophy to be an uphill journey.
Yet despite some of the odds being against her to retain the cup, Samara wasn’t the overwhelming favourite to take the silverware at last year’s Championships either, and she left that tournament with the main prize.
While Samara’s gold from the 2015 European Championships in the Women’s Singles category was a standout achievement for her country, a second place finish in the Women’s Team event for Romania at the same competition was also a noteworthy accomplishment.
Bernadette Szőcs and Daniela Monteiro Dodean teamed up alongside Elizabeta Samara for Romania last year, and all three of the mentioned players are set to compete in the 2016 Women’s Singles event. Seeded seventh, 13th and 23rd respectively, could we see one of Samara, Monteiro Dodean or Szőcs go far in Budapest?
Following the conclusion of previous European Championships Elizabeta Samara stated that her dream had come true and that she couldn’t be happier, after securing the title in Ekaterinburg; will Samara be giving a similar statement come the final day of the 2016 Championships?