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Breaking the ice for European table tennis 

Equally invested in the belief that international activities in table tennis  must re-start, two top national associations in Europe are now joining forces to break the ice on international cooperation and competitions in 2020, until now very much halted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Romanian Table Tennis Federation and the Swedish Table Tennis Association  have finalized discussions on signing a unique multifaceted high performance partnership. The first scheduled event is coming up already in late September when the Romanian junior national team will compete in the newly started Sweden Tour in Helsingborg. The two countries will also face off in a challenge match involving all four categories – girls and boys cadet and junior teams. Additional events during the fall period are planned to take place both in Romania and Sweden.

This unique collaboration between the two top federations, traditional European strongholds for talent and youth development, features joint training sessions held in both countries and full participation by the Romanian youth national team in up to three. Sweden Tour tournaments offering men’s and women’s singles combined with the U21, U18 and the U15 categories.

– We are looking forward to welcome some of the best young players in Europe to Sweden and our new Sweden Tour concept. Our ambition has all along been to gradually strengthen our competition model by attracting international guests – especially in the youth categories. It will be a tough but very interesting challenge to take on the Romanian team for our young talents and their coaches, says Mikael Andersson, High Performance Director STTA.

Discussions are also swirling around a possible joint preparation camp prior to the 2021 ITTF European Team Championships in Cluj, Romania, involving both the men’s and women’s team. Top priority moving forward is also to start quality projects connected to coaches education. Another important area on the priority list is to teach the coming generation of Swedish and Romanian top youngsters to pay more attention to the PR and media work in general.

– This project also came up as an idea of how to go big with a PR and marketing strategy beyond borders, an idea which is focused on youngsters. The project aims to build and educate new generations in a competitive and motivational environment, according to all the changes that happen at the moment worldwide. We will make full use of this occasion so that our young sportsmen become famous and appreciated, says Beatrice Romanescu, PR and Marketing, Romanian Table Tennis Federation.

Both camps, from top officials down to responsible coaches are expressing a great deal of optimism and strong belief in the new international partnership – unique in style and with the clear overhanging goal to develop young players and coaching methods.

– Absolutely great news not only for our two associations, but also for the whole table tennis family in Europe and around the world. I had the opportunity to visit Cluj, Romania, for the European Youth Championships in 2018 and the wholehearted drive and interest for sports in the region was very impressive. We started the discussions there and are now in agreement to get going in a time when initiatives like this is more important than ever before. If we can lead the way and get table tennis on the international sports schedule again we have done a good thing that may inspire others, says Petra Sörling, President, Swedish Table Tennis Association.

– I am happy and proud that two countries with great performance join forces and build a project so important for our future generations. Our goal is to lay the groundwork for future generations and to raise the awareness in terms of competitiveness and motivation. We aim for our youngsters to enhance their exchange of experience, the coaches expertise to improve and to adapt, in order to implement the latest training methods. I hope that this is just the beginning for future collaborations and I truly believe  that is not only for our two national federations, but for the whole European table tennis family, commented Cristinel Romanescu, President, Romanian Table Tennis Federation.

Full Sweden Tour schedule 2020  
14-16 August, Sweden Tour Opening Weekend, Köping
28-30 August, Sweden Tour Halmstad Masters, Halmstad
25-27 September, Sweden Tour Rekordspelen, Helsingborg
30/10-1/11, Sweden Tour Ängbys Internationella, Stockholm
27-29 November, Sweden Tour Flymanpokalen, Karlskrona
18-20 December, Sweden Tour & Ligacupen Finals, Eslöv

Romanian Top Level Training Camps 2020
12-17 October, Romania, Izvorani
4-9 December, Romania, location TBD

Parteneriat între Federația Română de Tenis de Masă și Asociația Suedeză de Tenis de Masă (Svenska Bordtennisförbundet) (Romanian version)