By Olalekan Okusan
Both gave a good account of themselves as Europe’s representatives.
Competing in the group stage, Romania and Ukraine worked their way into the second stage of the competition with Romania finishing second behind Chinese Taipei in group C while Ukraine also played second fiddle to China in group A, following their hard-fought triumph over Egypt.
For Romania, it was the victory over Vanuatu that ensured their place in the quarter-final round. Both teams set up against Asian powers – Japan and Korea Republic – at the end of the encounter, it was the Asian teams that prevailed and yet, Romania and Ukraine left their footprint in the encounters.
Against Japan, gave Daniela Monteiro Dodean giving Kasumi Ishikawa a run for her money in the entertaining encounter won by the Japan star in five games (11-8, 11-13, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6).
The outcome of the entire match was 3-0 but the intensity of the performance by the Romanians gave Europe something to cheer.
Also in the tie involving Ukraine and Korea Republic, it was 35th ranked Margaryta Pesotska that sparkled against the Koreans. She fought from the start against world no.16 Suh Hyowon. The Ukrainian was on top of her game – overcoming her superior opponent with a 3-2 win (7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6) to show the quality of the European side.
Sadly, Margaryta Pesotska’s effort could not prevent the European side from going down 3-1 to exit the tournament. The Tokyo experience has clearly revived the keen interest of the European teams in being part of the big party at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, being held in the same venue that hosted the Team World Cup. It will welcome the players back next year for the biggest sporting event in the world.
“Our performance in this competition was very good particularly in the doubles. My partnership with Elizabeta Samara is comfortable having played together for a long time. This has also given me confidence that we can beat any team in the doubles. We were just unlucky against Japan in the doubles having won the first game and we were leading 10-6 in the second game. But I am sure we can make something out of this doubles. Generally as a team, I think we played very well and I am hopeful we can come back to this place and show what we can do during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.” Daniela Monteiro Dodean.
For Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska, it was good having a feel of the venue before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I think I played well in this competition and this has again boosted my confidence with the hope of coming back next July for the Olympic Games. I must admit that playing against Suh Hyowon today and beating her has given me hope that I am capable to beat the best. There is no doubt that there will be more emotion during the Olympic Games and I cannot wait to be part of the show in 2020,” Margaryta Pesotska