02 Dec 2017

China has been at the forefront of table tennis for many a year now but a terrific 2017 campaign for German competitors has led to some fans questioning if the gap at the top of the sport is beginning to narrow?

by Simon Daish

One German player who has impressed throughout the course of the year is Timo Boll, who earned fantastic victories over Chinese stars Lin Gaoyuan and Ma Long at the recent Liebherr 2017 ITTF-Men’s World Cup in October.

However, despite the encouraging signs for German table tennis Timo Boll told Xinhua that he believes that China is still very much the team to beat on the international stage.

“We have managed to close the gap a little bit, but they still rule table tennis. When it comes to technique, athleticism and speed they are the best. I wouldn’t speak about a change of guard yet to say that is far too much and don’t forget Dimitri (Ovtcharov) and I have to invest a lot trying to keep our current high standards.” Timo Boll.

Both Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov have won silverware on this year’s ITTF World Tour and the two German stars were also in stunning form at the Liebherr 2017 ITTF-Men’s World Cup, securing the top two steps of the medals podium in Liege.

Ovtcharov is now the strong favourite to start the 2018 campaign as the World no.1 male player and with the Japanese team also competing at the top of the game Boll is excited to see China’s response.

“They will come up with something special for the World Championships and get back to an intense training effort. But clearly us and the Japanese are the biggest opponents for China. We are happy to be within reach of the leading Chinese players. Table tennis competitions around the world are getting tighter now, and we see more surprising results now more than before.” Timo Boll.

Enjoying the twilight years of his sporting career 36-year-old Boll still has plenty of fight left in him and has no plans to put his racquet down anytime soon.

“As long as I stay fit, I have some more years to go. I still love this sport!” Timo Boll.

Source: Xinhua

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