14 Jul 2020

A regular face on the ITTF World Tour, listed at no.72, the highest rated Italian female player on the women’s world rankings, five times the national champion, there has been plenty of success for Italy's Debora Vivarelli.

However, for the 27 year old there is one supreme goal , the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games..

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer

No place for Italy in the team event in Tokyo, success at the re-arranged European or World Qualification tournament is the option.

“Table tennis is always present in my life; both my parents and my sisters played or are still playing. My mum owns the club where I grew up and still play. My dad still plays, my older sister coaches the kids and my little sister is my teammate and favourite practice partner.

So it is all about table tennis in my family. Table tennis has taught me discipline, sacrifice and how to face difficult moments and not to give up. It has given me the possibility to travel around the world and meet a lot of friends. Table tennis has also taught me sacrifice and the importance of hard work. Without these, it would be impossible to emerge; not only in sports but in every life situations.” Debora Vivarelli


A member of the Italian Army Sports Group, had it not been table tennis, skiing would have been the option.

“I love skiing. I started skiing when I was just three and where I come from, north of Italy, it is all about skiing. I’m a very competitive person, so I’m pretty sure I would have become a professional athlete in any discipline.” Debora Vivarelli

Correct decision

However, Tokyo in 2021 is the target.

“It was the right decision to postpone the Olympic Games because health is so much more important. I was a bit sad at the beginning because I was really close to qualifying for the Olympics but at the same time I was aware that it could have been dangerous playing such a big competition in these conditions.

I really hope that the ITTF will soon let us know how they want to proceed with the qualification system.
My goal is to qualify for my first Olympic Games. I have been working hard in the last four years and especially this last season. I participated at all the available tournaments with exception of the Qatar Open and Polish Open where I unfortunately was not allowed to travel because of the COVID-19 travel restriction.

Olympic Games qualification has been extended to one more year, it means starting almost all over again when I was almost at the finish line. It won’t be easy but I’m really motivated and I really want to reach the goal I set myself four years ago.” Debora Vivarelli


The aim is the same as many of her contemporaries; also, it is the same in another discipline.

“I do Yoga, that’s the best way to relax and find yourself. I like to go hiking with my dog and recently I bought a road bike and I love to go uphill. There are really many great places to go in my region.” Debora Vivarelli

Exacting times

Clearly Debora Vivarelli has made the best use of her time during lockdown but life has not been easy.

“Honestly I didn’t think that I could miss table tennis so much. During the last few months I travelled a lot, 16 international tournaments in eight months. At the beginning of quarantine I was “happy” I could finally rest some weeks, I was really exhausted but after the first two weeks I already realised that I was missing everything, my practice routine, travelling, competing and the adrenaline.

Staying at home, I have learnt to not take anything for granted. I think about how lucky we players are, transforming our passion in our work. Sometimes when you are away from home for weeks, you feel the weight of sacrifice; now that I’m forced to stay at home I can’t wait to start competing and travelling again.” Debora Vivarelli

Looking forward to competition

Similar to patience has been tested but common sense has prevailed.

“It won’t be easy to go back to normality especially when it comes to international travel. Until COVID-19 takes a flight, but now with all the restrictions and fear, it is going to be a lot more difficult. I really hope we can start competing again soon, safely. Nothing is going to be the same again.” Debora Vivarelli

General News Debora Vivarelli