by Ian Marshall, Editor
A successful defence of the European Mixed Doubles title, it is a comparative rarity; the major exception to the rule being that of Stanislav Gomozkov and Zoja Rudnova, the lethal backhand of the former combined with the pen-hold grip style of the latter, forming a daunting partnership.
At the time representing the Soviet Union, they won in Lyon in 1968, before defending the title three times. They succeeded in 1970 in Moscow, two years later in Rotterdam before being crowned champions for the last time in Novi Sad.
They are one of only three pairs to complete a successful defence of the Mixed Doubles title and the only pair to achieve the distinction on more than one occasion.
Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic and Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, won in 2005 in Aarhus and in two years later in 2007 in Belgrade; like Stanislav Gomozkov and Zoja Rudnova, they also won four times. They succeeded in 2000 in Bremen and in 2009 in Subotica, an era when Mixed Doubles was held separately from the main Championships.
Notably both appear on the entry list for this year’s Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships but the name of Ruta Paskauskiene is not present on the Mixed Doubles entry list, Aleksandar Karakasevic partners colleague Izabela Lupulesku.
Successful title defences by the two most prominent Mixed Doubles partnerships in the history of the tournament; the one other combination to achieve the feat is that of Romania’s Andrei Filimon and Elizabeta Samara. They succeeded in Istanbul in 2011 and one year later in Buzau, the epoch when just as Aleksandar Karakasevic and Ruta Paskauskiene had gained success in 2009, the event was held separately from the main competition.
Disappointment for João Monteiro and it is disappointment for Portugal; he is the only Portuguese player, male or female, to win a Mixed Doubles gold at a European Championships.
Meanwhile, for Romania it is somewhat different, in addition to Daniela Monteiro Dodean, Elizabeta Samara and Andrei Filimon; in 1960 in Zagreb Gheorghe Cobirzan and Maria Alexandru emerged successful, as did Otilia Badescu in 1992 in Stuttgart and in 1998 in Eindhoven. In Stuttgart she partnered Kalinikos Kreanga, now of Greece but at the time Romanian and known as Calin Creanga; in Eindhoven she joined forces with Serbia’s Ilija Lupulesku.
Notable pairings and in Alicante another partnership will add their names to the Mixed Doubles roll of honour; no previous combinations on duty in the Spanish east coast resort have ever won the European Mixed Doubles title.