World Team Championships - My Diary by Diana Rusinova

When returning back to Latvia in March 2014 to compete in the Latvian National Championships I reached the Women’s Singles final and also won the Women’s Doubles and as a result I was selected represent the Latvian National Team at the World Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo (Japan). This was my 4th World Championship in my life having played in the World Individual Championships in both Rotterdam (2011) and Paris (2013) and the World Team Championships in Dortmund in 2012 but this was the one which I will remember the most.

I was so happy that I was selected to go to Japan and prepared for the championship so hard putting in extra individual practices and was also going to the gym. I would like to thank all the players at Draycott and also my coaches in England – Phil Vickers and Paul Jennings for preparing me for the biggest event of my life.


My trip started by first of all flying from England to Latvia, where I spent 2 more days practicing with Latvian National team. Practices were hard and included physical training and multi-ball sessions to prepare to play on a high level.  I was training with my team players Antra Vinertre and Viktorija Majorova and our Men’s team Olegs Kartuzovs, Arturs Reinholds and Leonids Maslovs along with our female coach from the women's National team.


We had a very long journey from Latvia to Tokyo. We flew from my home city of Riga through to Helsinki (Finland) and then from Helsinki we went to Tokyo on the same day, flight's time was 9h 40min. It was the longest flight in my life and I was a little bit nervous. We also flew with the Estonian and Finnish National teams, who are our very good friends so our flight went quit fast and we spent the time laughing and joking.


 Finally, we landed in Japan around 10 am and my first thought was: seriously, I am in Asia – I can't believe it.

It was strange because I have never been in Asia and time difference was so big which was 8 hours ahead of England and for the first day it was so hard to get used to this time. However, later everything was good.

A World Championship's volunteers met us in the airport and took us to the 4 star hotel which was very big and beautiful. Also many of the other teams were staying there so it was interesting to see everyday different famous top players in the world.


All games started today and we had matches against Ecuador and Estonia and we started very well and had a victory against Ecuador 3-1, where I won my match against their No.1. On the same day we played against our friends, Estonia and this was a hard match which we lost 1-3 - I lost my game 1-3 against their 1st number, but I think I had all chances to win my game. I was playing against this women for the first time but it was very good experience of playing against a fast game close to the table.

This was the hardest day, because we had 2 games and were playing for the first time in the table tennis hall - on other days we had only 1 game per day.


Today we played against Algeria and this was a team we have never played before. We had an easy victory against them, where our result was 3-1 and I won my match 3-1. After our game we went to watch some different matches because everyday in the hall were interesting games and we also supported our men’s national team.


Our 4th match was against Sri Lanka, it was the most important match in our group, where the winner of this match would go through the group. Unfortunately we lost 1-3  and I won 1 game easily and but lost in a close fight 2-3 against their No.1. I was 0-2 down, and then fought back to 2-2,  but the final game wasn't so easy and I  lost 8-11. I was upset because I didn't give for my team chance to win this match. After we lost, it was impossible to go through the group but we concentrated on one more match in the group as we wanted to do our best.


Our last match was against the strongest team in the group - Iran. They didn't lose any matches in the group. I played the first match and I started really good and won first 2 sets 11-9, 11-9 but then I  don't know what happened and I lost my concentration and lost my match 2-3. I know that I could win this match but I did my best. After this we went on to lose 3-1 to Iran and finished 4th in the group and meant that we could play only for 49-72 positions.

We now only had 5 days left in Japan and next we had to play against Macao.


Before the next match we had a rest day which was good as we were tired after all the matches. We had the chance to visit other parts of Tokyo which we did with the Estonian National Team. We spent the day walking on the amazing streets of Tokyo and going in the shops and it seemed like it was a dream. It was so fantastic I did not want to go back to the hotel.


Today we had our last match against Macao, it was the only match we lost 0-3 as I lost my game 0-3 which was the only match I lost 0-3 in the tournament. I felt I was tired after all the matches I played and was slightly disappointed that I only won 3/7 matches but it was a great experience and the team came 65th which was about the same as the last World Championships.


 After we finished all our matches we had two days to enjoy being in Japan and visit some beautiful and interesting places there. We visited:

     - Shibuya station

     - Hachi monument

     - The biggest motorway intersection in the world

     - Tokyo Tower

     - Tokyo Ueno Zoo

     - Ginza Street (trade quarter)

     - Asakusa (tourist's street)

     - Tokyo station (city centre)

     - Tokyo Dome (theme park)


On the evening of the last day of the championship I went back to the table tennis hall to watch the match I had been waiting for - It was the Men’s Team final between Germany and China. I wanted Germany to win because my favourite player Timo Boll plays for Germany and also because it is a European team and I alos ply for a team in the German National League. I enjoyed final so much as the matches were really good and the atmosphere in the hall was incredible and it was the biggest crowd I had ever been in to watch a table tennis match.


My trip to Japan was the best trip in my life. Tokyo is awesome place and didn't want to go home at all. I took a lot of pictures of Japan and I was also very lucky to get a photo with my favourite player - Timo Boll and also with Vladimir Samsonov. We met many new people and became friends with them and also met many players I had seen and played before and this trip will stay in my memory forever.


On the final day we had to go to the airport very early so we decided not to sleep all night and spent the night with our friends. We went to the airport in the morning and when I was sitting in the airplane I told myself that one day I will come back to Japan as it is such a wonderful country.

The flight back seemed faster as we again travelled with the Estonian National Team and when we landed in Latvia, I spent 4 more days in Riga with my friends.

On 10th of May i returned back to England and then back to my studies at Derby College and also back to Draycott to continue practicing as I have some more big competitions to play in including:

National Team Finals with my Draycott teammate – Amy Humphreys and then a championship for Northern European countries held in Estonia, the Baltic Junior Top 10 in Lithuania and then the Youth European Youth Championship in Italy in July

Diana & Timo Boll

                              Draycott Star player - Diana Rusinova pictured with Germany's Timo Boll

Author: via Draycott and Long Eaton Table Tennis Club
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