The draw for the 2013 European Table Tennis Championships has taken place in Barcelona, Spain for the competition which will be held in Austria’s Schwechat in Werner Schlager’s Academy – Multiversum.
The event is scheduled for the 4th to 13th October 2013 so in the next two years the countries involved will fight for places at the event. The compositions of the groups in all three men’s and women’s teams events was determined by the draw on a seeding list drawn up according to the ranking of the three highest ranked players of each association.
The English men’s team, who were narrowly relegated this year, have been drawn in Challenge Division Group A alongside: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Netherlands.
The men faced the Czech team earlier this year in Poland and were 3-2 victors with Liam Pitchford beating both Dmitrij Prokopcov and Tomas Konecny. Paul Drinkhall also beat Konecny to seal the win. The Czech team also include Tomas Tregler who played at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals while Petr Korbel is their highest ranked player at 63 in the world.
Slovakia’s highest ranked player is Thomas Keinath (74) while both the Bulgarian and Dutch mens’ teams will be the outsiders of the group with neither nation having a player in the top 250 in the world.
Romania may prove the biggest test in Group A with three players in the top 200 which includes the group’s highest ranked player: Adrian Crisan (36).
The English women’s team will, after gaining promotion from the Challenge Division in Poland, compete in the top tier of European Qualifiers as they are drawn in Championship Group B alongside: Germany, Romania, Spain, Russia and Czech Republic.
Like the men, they face both Romania and Czech Republic but their respective sides are much tougher in the women’s game. Romania, who were runners-up in October, have an impressive team consisting of Elizabeta Samara (36), Daniela Dodean (42) and Bernadette Szocs (95) while the Czech Republic, who finished seventh, also have two players in the top 100: Iveta Vacenovska (54) and Renata Strbikova (84).
Germany wil be the favourites in the group with six players inside the top 100 including world number 18 Jiaduo Wu, who played in the women’s singles competition at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals at ExCeL.
That just leaves Spain and Russia who came eighth and ninth respectively at the last European Championships. Spain’s top player is Yanfei Shen (34) while Russia’s top player is Anna Tikhomirova (69) who was beaten 4-3 (8-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 13-11) by Kelly Sibley in a thrilling encounter in the women’s singles in Poland.
For a full round-up of the last European Championships click here.