by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The first ever Women’s Doubles final at a European Championships, which saw all four players from the same national association in action, witnessed success once again for Sabine Winter, defeat for Shan Xiaona.
In 2013 in Schwechat, she partnered Petrissa Solja to gold; at the final hurdle the duo accounted for Zhenqi Barthel and Shan Xiaona.
“Like now, in Austria I also faced my teammates. I used to it. The match is over and now we will be together and having good time together again”, Sabine Winter
Furthermore, the win meant that Sabine Winter stands alongside Elke Schall and Nicole Struse and as the most successful German player in Women’s Doubles events at a European Championships.
Now two decades ago in 1996 in Bratislava, Elke Schall and Nicole Struse beat the Netherlands combination of Bettine Vriesekoop and Emily Noor to claim gold; two years later in 1998 in Eindhoven they retained the title. At the final hurdle, they accounted for the combination of Romania’s Otilia Badesu and Sweden’s Marie Svensson.
“In the seventh game at 8-8 the umpire ruled fault service. I do not want to judge if this decision correct or not, but the fact is that we played few very good points before and after”, Kristin Silbereisen
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly the only other occasion when a pair representing Germany has reached a European Championships Women’s Doubles final was in Moscow.
Diane Schöler who by her maiden name, Diane Rowe, when representing England, had won the Women’s Doubles title in partnership with Mary Shannon in 1962 in Berlin and in 1964 in Malmö, partnered Agnes Simon in 1970 in the Russian capital city.
Representing what was then Federal Germany, they were beaten by the host nation’s Zoja Rudnova and Svetlana Grinberg.
Success for Kristin Silbereisen and Sabine Winter who did not play in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; defeat for Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja who did play.
It is food for thought.