by Ian Marshall, Editor
However, matters did not start as the home fans expected, Vladimir Samsonov was beaten by Kou Lei (3-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9).
“You often have to play in such situations, when the score is 9-9, it’s very hard to say how the next points will end. Maybe at such moments luck is important. Unfortunately, both athletes cannot win.” Vladimir Samsonov
Defeat for Vladimir Samsonov but that was to be the only reverse for the host nation. Pavel Platonov beat Yevhen Pryshchepa (11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 11-9), before Aliaksandr Khanin accounted for Viktor Yefimov (12-10, 11-4, 11-2) and Vladimir Samsonov returned to the action to concluded matters. He beat Yevhen Pryshchepa (11-9, 11-8, 11-5).
Overall a disappointing outcome for the visitors but Vladimir Gevorgizov, the Ukraine coach had conducted himself with dignity and honour.
“After the defeat in Chernigov three-nil, I wondered if there was any point in bringing the strongest players to Belarus but, as a former athlete and coach, I understand that if there is at least one chance to win, you must use it. A three-one victory is a worthy result for Belarus.” Vladimir Gevorgizov
A philosophical response from Vladimir Gevorgizov, from Andrei Vorobiev it was one of delight.
“Ukraine risked everything; they put their strongest player Kou Lei against Vladimir Samsonov; this brought the result they needed. I would like to pay tribute to our guys, who did not flinch and played good table tennis.” Andrei Vorobiev
The result means that Belarus is guaranteed a place in 2019 ITTF European Team Championships; in addition to the wins against Ukraine, earlier in the year in May, they recorded a three-two success against Slovakia. Three fixtures completed, a maximum six points; one contest remains, in December they travel to play Slovakia, who earlier in the year accounted for Ukraine by three matches to one. In November, Slovakia travels to play Ukraine.
“Aliaksandr Khanin played one of his best matches in recent times: he played just amazing. We are very pleased that we beat Ukraine and have qualified for 2019 European Team Championships.” Vladimir Samsonov
Overall, the 2019 ITTF European Team Championships comprises 24 teams in each of the Men’s and Women’s events.
Qualification involves a two year procedure, the reigning champions and the host nation are not required to compete in the qualification process; thus for the men Germany is exempt, for the women it is Romania. Also France, being the hosts do not need to qualify.
There are two groups in the initial stage: Group A and Group B. Group A comprises the teams who finished in places no.2 to no.20 at the 2017 ITTF European Championships (France exempt), Group B is for all remaining teams. In Group A the teams are drawn into six groups, three teams in each group playing on a home and away basis. Teams finishing in first and second places in each group, reserve places in Nantes. The outfits that finish in third places, compete against the successful teams from Group B for the ten remaining places.
2019 ITTF European Team Championships: Full Results and Standings