Team Mates Become Opponents and Then Team Mates Again October 24, 2009Posted by scotthouston23 in Uncategorized.
Under the guidance of coaches Jarek Kolodziejczyk and Dana Weber and team manager Polona Cehovin Susin, Team Europe is well known to be the bench mark when it comes to team spirit and unity at the International Cadet Challenge. They achieve consistently outstanding results and their strong team bonding no doubt plays a major part in their success.
However, on the morning of Saturday 24 October two of Team Europe’s cadet girls found themselves at opposite ends of the table. Fourteen year old Bernadette Szocs of Romania had to face off against Yana Noskova, the fifteen year old Russian in the knock-out stage of the cadet girls singles event. Three days earlier they had been consoling each other after a gut-wrenching loss in the cadet team’s final against Team Asia, this morning they would have given anything to defeat each other.
This match had added importance given that the victorious player would still have a chance to secure one of the elusive four qualification places on offer for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. For the loser, they would be left to find another qualification path at a later date.
In a thrilling match that was full of long topspin and counter hitting rallies, the two youngsters proved to be evenly matched all the way. After an epic six games duel, it was Bernadette Szocs who emerged victorious. The petite right hander always plays with passion and enthusiasm, and this was typified by her vocal cries after winning each point.
For Yana Noskova, she must have been bitterly disappointed with the outcome, as a golden opportunity had been missed. However, she did not let it show as she shook hands showing good sportsmanship. Surely this comes from the respect that Team Europe have for one another.
Less than two hours after their match had finished, it was back to being team mates again. Yana Noskova and Bernadette Szocs are also partners in the girl’s doubles event at the International Cadet Challenge, and they put their skills together to defeat the Pan American duo of Cristal Meneses from Chile and Maria Soto from Peru by three games to one. When it comes to the medal rounds, surely they will be in the mix.
Bernadette Szocs and Yana Noskova had gone from team mates, to opponents, and then back to team mates again over 3 different events. This is surely one of the beauties of table tennis and in particular the International Cadet Challenge. It also underlines the strong team spirit of Team Europe and the maturity of the young ladies concerned.
By Scott Houston, Oceania Development Officer and Team Oceania Manager