On April 6 two sports holidays were celebrated in Moscow simultaneously – International Day of Sport for Development and Peace and World Table Tennis Day, established in 2015 at the initiative of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
The main venues for the celebrations were the sports complex Chertanovo and the GUM department store. Under the glass vaulted ceiling of one of the oldest department stores in Moscow, sports enthusiasts and guests of the capital alike had a unique opportunity to chat with famous table tennis players and play a game or two with them.
– This is an excellent idea – to mark this international festival in the heart of Moscow near Red Square with our wonderful veterans, current athletes, coaches, specialists, fans and entrepreneurs who support table tennis, – said Igor Levitin, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Table Tennis Federation of Russia (TTFR) and First Vice President of ROC in his interview to the ROC Information Service. – We all love this game and today we send warm greetings to table tennis fans all over the world! It is very important that not only professionals came here. Table tennis demonstrates its unifying power by gathering players with completely different levels at the tables.
– On April 21 the World Table Tennis Championship starts in Budapest. What do you expect from this tournament?
– Due to objective reasons, our team is not anticipating any medals. But we expect our athletes to do their best and go as far as possible in this tournament. I would very much like our young athletes to be seen in a good light in Budapest, and afterwards they will be looking forward to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Igor Levitin himself did not miss the opportunity to display his physical fitness and played several games with different team members, including the two-time world champion, Honored Master of Sports Svetlana Fedorova who weighed in on table tennis in Russia.
– Table tennis in our country is now on the rise, this is especially noticeable in the regions where children are actively attending classes, – said the famous athlete. – A few decades ago, there was no such interest. I am sure that we will soon return to the positions we had during Soviet times
– How do you manage to keep fit?
– I’m not used to lying on the couch. I regularly go to the gym. Table tennis is an amazing game. It not only increases physical activity, but also allows the flow of positive emotions, making our life more interesting and complete.
The young generation of table tennis masters at this festival was represented by the three-time bronze medalist of the European championships in team competitions, vice-champion in doubles, Yana Noskova. The 25-year-old Muscovite talked about her preparations for the forthcoming World Cup in Hungary.
– On April 11 I am leaving for the final training session in Sweden. In Budapest, I will be playing singles and doubles, along with Sofia Polkanova of Austria. The rules do not prohibit doubles players from different countries.
– What are your expectations?
– Last year I was unable to go beyond the first round. Now I hope to give a better performance. At the European Championships 2018 in Alicante, Sofia Polkanova and I became silver medalists in doubles. I will not claim that in Budapest our chances are high for a medal, but we are quite capable of getting into the top eight.
– As far as I know, new table tennis balls will be used during this World Cup.
– Yes, BUTTERFLY A40 +. However, we cannot say that they are completely new as they were already in use during the previous World Cup held in Sweden. The balls are quite expensive (a set of three costs 1000 rubles), but they are very firm – one is sufficient for a whole match. By the way, in order to be comfortable it takes time to get accustomed to their rotation and trajectory.
– What can you say about today’s international festival?
– I welcome any activities that contribute to the promotion of table tennis. I would only be happy if, after today’s contests, an amateur fan will want to take up table tennis once again.
– How were you introduced to table tennis?
– My parents are Masters of Sports in table tennis. I was three years old when I went with my mother to a children’s sports summer camp. She now works as a coach and is closely monitoring my career.