by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Three teams per group, ten groups; the other member of the group is also one of the founder members of the International Table Tennis Federation.
Wales completes the three outfits in a competition that witnesses the teams finishing in first place in each group, qualifying to play in the Championship Division at the 2017 ITTF European Team Championships to be hosted in Luxembourg, from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 17th September.
Teams finishing in third place in each group will compete in the Challenge Division with the second placed outfits competing in a play-off round, organised on a home and away basis to determine their future. The winners of the play-off contests will compete in the Championship Division in Luxembourg, the losers in the Challenge Division.
Winning is always the ultimate goal but for Kosovo, the realistic target is to improve on previous performances. Kosovo is an association where development is the key, from a war torn part of the world, the fact they are competing at international level and clearly relishing the challenges, they face in the sporting arena, is to their great credit.
It may sound negative but a three-one defeat would be a measure of progress, for Besart Domaniku, the national coach; that is the goal.
“We are aware that Austria is the favourite for this match; we believe that through our fans support, we will do much better compared to our last time”, Besart Domaniku
On Tuesday 27th September, represented by Linda Zeqiri, Iona Maloku and Nehare Jenjeva, a three-nil defeat was experienced against the Austrian outfit comprising Sofia Polcanova, Li Qiangbing and Koroline Mischek. Similarly on Tuesday 22nd November, it was a three-nil defeat at the hands of Wales represented by Charlotte Carey, Anghard Phillips and Chloe Thomas.
Sandwiched in between on Tuesday 1st November, with Austria selecting Karoline Mischek, Sofia Polcanova, Amelia Solja and Saim Polatkan; a three-one success was posted in opposition to Wales, for whom Megan Phillips replaced Anghard Phillips.
Selected by Besart Domaniku, the team chosen to represent Kosovo again Austria comprises Vlona Maloku, Ilirjana Haliti, Linda Zeqiri and Nehare Janjeva.