14 Sep 2018

A change of heart, Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic will partner Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene in the Mixed Doubles event at the forthcoming Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships; play commencing in Alicante, Spain on Tuesday 18th September.

Originally, Aleksandar Karakasevic was due to join forces with colleague Izabela Lupulesku; the name of Ruta Paskauskiene did not appear on the event’s entry list.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

They are the only pair competing who are previous winners of the Mixed Doubles title; furthermore they are aiming to win for a record breaking fifth time, having earlier secured the title four times.

Currently they stand level with Stanislav Gomozkov and Zoja Rudnova, the duo when representing the Soviet Union, won on four consecutive occasions between 1968 in Lyon and 1974 in Novi Sad.

However, Aleksandar Karakasevic and Ruta Paskauskiene can already claim to be the most successful Mixed Doubles partnership in the history of the tournament, an event which first saw the light of day in 1958 in Budapest. In addition to their quartet of wins, they were the runners up in 2002 in Zagreb, beaten in the final by the combination of Poland’s Lucjan Blasczyk and Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian.

Very much for Ruta Paskauskiene, it is an opportunity to add to her impressive collection of European Championship medals. Overall she has seven gold medals in her collection. Notably, she has a complete set of individual titles. She lines up alongside the likes of Hungary’s Csilla Batorfi, Romania’s Maria Alexandru and Elizabeta Samara, as well as Valentina Popova and Zoja Rudnova who, when in the days of Soviet Union, achieved the feat.

Additional to her Mixed Doubles successes, she was crowned Women’s Singles champion in 2008 in St Petersburg, before in both 2010 in Ostrava and 2011 in Gdansk, securing gold the Women’s Doubles event in partnership with Russia’s Oksana Fadeeva.

“If Ruta was a national association, she would be 13th in the medals ranking of the European Championships. Seven European titles, she is ahead of Croatia (six), Russia (four), Poland (three) and 18 more European countries.” Igor Heller, European Table Tennis Union

Furthermore, one wonders, could Alicante be the swansong for both Aleksandar Karakasevic and Ruta Paskauskiene? Aleksandar Karakasevic is approaching his 43rd birthday, Ruta Paskauskiene is 41 years of age.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Aleksandar Karakasevic Ruta Paskauskiene

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