by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Notably it is only the fourth occasion, in what is the eleventh edition of the prestigious event that a Romanian Women’s Team has competed; even though at such events as the European Championships they are consistently amongst the honours.
In the old continent, when female excellence is the subject in question, Romania sets the standard.
The most recent Romanian excursions in the World Team Cup were in 2009 in Linz and in 2015 in Dubai. On those occasions they departed proceedings at the quarter-final stage but on debut in 1995 in Atlanta, a test event for the following year’s Olympic Games, they excelled.
They finished in runners up spot. The trio comprising Otilia Badescu, Emilia Ciosu and Georgeta Cojocaru experienced a three-nil defeat in the final when facing the Chinese combination of Deng Yaping, Qiao Hong and Yang Ying.
A formidable team over two decades ago but is the present quartet that will appear in London; that of Elizabeta Samara, Daniela Monteiro Dodean, Bernadette Szocs and Adina Diaconu even stronger?
Otilia Badescu won the Women’s Singles title at the 2003 European Championships in Courmayeur and at the 1995 Europe Top 12 in Dijon; Emilia Ciosu also won the latter, she succeeded in Copenhagen in 1993. Furthermore, alongside Georgeta Cojocaru competed in the Olympic Games.
Likewise, Elizabeta Samara, Daniela Monteiro Dodean, Bernadette Szocs have competed in the Olympic Games whilst Adina Diaconu was on duty at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Moreover, recently Bernadette Szocs won the Europe Top 16 tournament in Montreux; Elizabeta Samara was crowned European champion in Ekaterinburg in 2015, having in 2012 reached the final of the 2012 Women’s World Cup in Huangshi, the only European player to achieve the feat. Furthermore, in the same year Daniela Monteiro-Dodean and Elizabeta Samara combined to win the Women’s Doubles title at the European Championships.
Meanwhile, partnering colleague Andreea Dragoman, Adina Diaconu, the duo won the Girls’ Doubles title at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships, the only female players not from Asia to win gold in the history of the tournament.
A tough test ahead in London but can they match the Atlanta team? A top three finish must be the aim.
All four have a special bond, they have come through the ranks. Notably at the European Youth Championships; each has won the Cadet Girls’ Singles title and then followed that success by claiming the Junior Girls’ Singles crown.
Following the recent successes in Luxembourg and Montreux, team spirit is high, there is a high sense of unity; it could make the vital difference in London.