25 Nov 2023

From 4 to 10 December, the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023 will unfold at the Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu, China, featuring the world's top 18 teams vying for glory.

Slovakia’s women’s team made history by breaking into the quarterfinals in the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Chengdu 2022 as a reserve team. After securing a spot in the last eight by defeating France with a 3-1 score, Barbora Balazova, in tandem with Tatiana Kukulkova and Ema Labosova, expressed her surprise, stating, “If someone told us that we would be in the quarterfinals before the whole competition, we would have laughed, obviously.”

A year later, the same trio is returning to the Sichuan City with great confidence, aiming to once again mark the table tennis history of their country.

For this mission, they will be joined by Yang Wang and Jakub Zelinka, who are determined to improve on their performance at the ITTF World Team Championships 2022, where they were halted in the group stage.

Yang Wang at the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Chengdu 2022

TEAM SLOVAKIA (#16 seed)

Tatiana KUKULKOVA (World No.66)
At 23, attaining a career-high rank of 49th, Tatiana Kukulkova has demonstrated constant progress, securing a spot in the Round of 16 in the ITTF World Championships Finals Durban 2023.

Barbora BALAZOVA (World No.68)
The seasoned left-hander, Balazova, played a crucial role in the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Chengdu 2022, marking a significant breakthrough for Team Slovakia, contributing a total of six wins for her team.

Ema LABOSOVA (World No.197)
At 22, ranked 197 in women’s singles, Labosova showcased her strong mentality in Chengdu last year. Facing France in the Round of 16, Labosova provided her team with an ideal start by defeating France’s Jia Nan Yuan, a top-20 player, in the first match.

Yang WANG (World No.81)
Yang Wang, a master of the art of defense, brings his fine technique to Chengdu. As a veteran who participated in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Wang, a proficient singles and doubles player, will be a key asset for Team Slovakia under the innovative playing system of the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup.

Jakub ZELINKA (World No.226)
The 23-year-old lefty Jakub Zelinka is proficient in doubles. Ranked 54th with his compatriot Lubomir Pistej, the Slovakia pair advanced to the Round of 32 in the ITTF World Championships Finals Durban 2023 earlier this year. In mixed doubles, Zelinka, paired with Tatiana Kukulkova, and also entered the Round of 32.

Samuel ARPAS (World No.313)
At 16, Samuel Arpas is the youngest player and the only new face in Team Slovakia coming to Chengdu. At the ITTF World Youth Championships 2022, Samuel impressed the crowds, dominating the U15 Boy’s Doubles with Hungarian Balazs Lei.

With a new format and playing system, Team Slovakia aims to revive its Chengdu past success.


*Rankings according to latest on 21/11/2023

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