by Simon Daish
Once again Romania will be led by the powerful trio of Elizabeta Samara, Bernadette Szocs and Daniela Monteiro Dodean with Irina Ciobanu and Adina Diaconu occupying the the two remaining squad positions in a very strong line-up.
The team travels to Halmstad in good spirits and in promising form; pulling off a major surprise at the back end of last year, Romania defied the odds to clinch the Women’s Team gold medal at the Liebherr 2017 European Championships with a superb victory against title favourites Germany.
More recently at the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup, Romanian athletes enjoyed a fine outing in the Women’s Singles draw. Bernadette Szocs stole the headlines at the event with her remarkable title win in Montreux, Switzerland while there was also a third position finish for compatriot Elizabeta Samara as both players guaranteed their places at this year’s 2018 ITTF Women’s World Cup.
Romania has an interesting history on the World Team Championships stage, winning five of seven Women’s Team titles at the competition between 1950 and 1956 but since then the team has only been able to muster three runner up finishes and two bronze medals at the event.
In Kuala Lumpur two years ago, Team Romania negotiated its group with three well-earned victories but success in the Round of 16 proved one step too far with the team suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of DPR Korea.
Will Romania fair better in Halmstad? Drawn alongside the likes of Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands and DPR Korea in Group C, Romania faces a difficult start to its campaign. However, as European champions the sixth seeds will be looking to carry forward their continental success to the world stage.