21 Sep 2018

The first title decided at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in Alicante, success came the way of Germany; on the evening of Friday 21st September, Ruwen Filus and Han Ying combined to win the Mixed Doubles title.

At the final hurdle, the no.2 seeds brought the fourth day of play in the Spanish resort to a conclusion by overcoming Austria’s Stefan Fegerl and Sofia Polcanova, the no.4 seeds, in a full distance five games contest (11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Furthermore, the win means that for the first time since Hungary’s Zoltan Berczik and Gizi Farkas won in 1958 at the inaugural tournament in Budapest, the Mixed Doubles event has been won by two players are primarily defenders.

One year later, Maria Alexandru, the last Romanian female player of stature to extol the backspin art, partnered Ghoerge Cobirzan to gold in 1960 in Zagreb but since that date no female defensive player has ever stood on the top step of the European Mixed Doubles podium, nor for that matter has any man. Certainly not in the lifetime of Ruwen Filus and Han Ying!

Equally, it can be argued that they are the first pair representing Germany to win the title; most definitely they are the first German pair to win when the European Championships was not held on their home soil. In 1962 Inge Harst partnered Sweden’s Hans Alser to success, later in 1978 Wilfried Lieck and Wiebke Hendriksen emerged victorious; in 1962 the tournament was held in Berlin, in 1978 in Duisburg.

However, at the time of those achievements, the players in question represented Federal Germany, often referred to as West Germany, as opposed to the German Democratic Republic, colloquially called East Germany, a different country. It was not until 1990 when reunification was completed.

Alas for Austria, no pair from that country has ever won the European Mixed Doubles title; the nearest is Werner Schlager. He partnered Hungary’s Krisztina Toth to success in 2003 in Courmayeur. He was delighted with his first major triumph, a vindication of deciding to be a professional player; little did he know that a few months later he would be crowned world champion in Paris!

2018 Liebherr European Championships Han Ying Sofia Polcanova Ruwen Filus Stefan Fegerl

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