18 Nov 2016

The German Table Tennis team spearheaded by Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Timo Boll, Bastian Steger and Patrick Franziska has been nominated for the Sports Team of the Year in North Rhine-Westphalia for the Felix awards to be held on Friday 9th December 2016 in Dortmund, Germany.

Read more to know what Ovtcharov has to say on the nomination.

by Neha Aggarwal

The current flag bearer of the German team, Dimitrij Ovtcharov appreciates the team being nominated for this prestigious award in Germany. Elaborating on its importance he said,

It means a lot to us. The most successful sportsmen and sportswomen of one of the biggest state in Germany have been nominated. It feels great that our success in Rio is rewarded.”

Team Germany comprised of Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Bastian Steger won the bronze medal defeating Korea 3-1 in one of the most thrilling and nail biting matches of the games.

Other teams that are nominated are Germany’s men kayak team, versatility riders team, hockey team and women’s 4 x 100 meters relay team. All these nominees are Rio Olympic medallists. Thus the competition is quiet strong!

Commenting on the team’s chances to win this award, Ovtcharov said,  “First of all we are very happy to belong to this group of very successful sport teams which are nominated. I think the players of our team have achieved a lot during the last years, individually and as a team. We have a lot of fans out there who love table tennis. Therefore I am sure we have chances even though the other nominees are pretty well-known, too.

Although the Germans lost to Japan in the semi finals in Rio, they gracefully and successfully won the bronze medal. This medal at Rio means a lot for the Germans. Ovtcharov explained, “It was very important for us. The top teams in the world after China have come very close to each other. We were very disappointed after our defeat in the semi-final against Japan, but we tried everything to secure the bronze medal against Korea, a very strong opponent. It is always a magic moment to win a medal at the Olympics.”

Indeed, each Olympic medal means a lot to an athlete. In the 2012 Olympic Games, Ovtcharov won two bronze medals, one in men’s team and the second one in men’s singles.

 This nomination truly emphasizes on the importance of teamwork for any team competing at any level. Ovtcharov describes that the Germans have been bonding well both on and off the court. He said, “Well, we know each other for a very long time. We practice together almost every day in Düsseldorf. We know our families and we have become a kind of family, too.”

“Teamwork is not only a term for us, we can really rely on ourselves in every situation. Timo and Basti have a great experience, they stay relaxed even in very tense situations. Patti as a younger teammate was the fourth player in Rio. He knew there was just a very little chance for him to play but nevertheless he was always there for us, supported us and belonged to the team. We had a great spirit.”

 The special bond that the Germans share amongst each other, makes huge difference. Even in difficult situations, like the ones Ovtcharov is facing. He had some major disappointments this year at the World Cup and the European Championships. Something went wrong for sure, which made a huge impact on his performance. He explained, “It is always hard to keep the level and the mental freshness after such an event (Olympic Games), one of your career highlights.”

“I probably was not as focused as usually in the daily practise right after Rio. I am feeling better and better every day and doing everything to be the old Dima soon.”

He is currently at the Swedish Open, trying to get some good wins and get back to his older best self. He elaborated, “I am practicing in the table tennis centre in Düsseldorf with the National Team most of the time. I just spent a few days in China where I had the chance to practice with some Chinese National players. Clearly the World Championships in Düsseldof in April 2017 is a highlight. I will prepare as hard as I can to be ready for this event in front of our home crowd!”

We wish the entire German team all the best!

General News Timo Boll Dimitrij Ovtcharov Patrick Franziska Bastian Steger