“I want to convey the value of persistence and effort through table tennis.”
Vladimir Samsonov (47, Belarus) 안전놀이터 reigned as the world’s best table tennis player from the late 1990s to the mid-2010s. He made his spectacular debut on the international stage as the runner-up in men’s doubles at the 1995 World Championships in Tianjin, and won nine gold medals at the World Cup and European Championships.
Samsonov showed off its competitiveness on the world stage even in the 2000s, when China’s strength stood out with the decrease in rotation speed as the ball diameter was changed from 38mm to 40mm. However, he withdrew and retired due to a shoulder injury sustained just before the opening of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021. After not appearing in the media for a while, he visited Korea on the 30th of last month and greeted domestic table tennis fans. He is currently touring Asian countries as an ambassador for TIBHAR, a table tennis equipment company in Germany, which he has accompanied for the past 30 years.
Samsonov met with Sports Dong-a that day and said, “I watched the All-Japan Table Tennis Championships in Japan last week. I am having a busy day as a T-Bar ambassador,” he said. “I remember coming to Korea and facing Joo Se-hyuk (men’s national team coach) and Oh Sang-eun (Mirae Asset Securities men’s team coach) in the past.” Coach Sae-Hyeok Joo, who met Samsonov that day, also said, “There are not many cases where European players stand out at a young age.” He has excellent endurance and has no emotional ups and downs, so I don’t remember winning,” he recalled.
Although Samsonov has achieved both impact and cumulative records, it remains a pity that he did not win medals in six Olympic challenges from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. In particular, at the Rio de Janeiro Games, she struggled with a rib injury, but unfortunately only finished in 4th place. He said, “I trained for more than 10 hours every day in the former Soviet Union, and trained for more than 7 hours after moving to Germany. He endured with his love for table tennis and his physical strength.”
Samsonov observed the Korea League women’s match between Samsung Life Insurance and Korean Air at Studio T in Suwon that day and informed fans of the current situation. Later, on the 31st, as she departed for Germany via Incheon International Airport, she said, “In the past, I struggled against rough and unpredictable players like Oh Sang-eun. Korean prospects have to work hard with perseverance, focusing on play close to the court.”