After leaving Russia: For Ovtcharov, it’s table tennis

After leaving Russia
For Ovtcharov, it’s table tennis

The farewell to his long-time club comes involuntarily because of the war of Russian aggression in Ukraine. But table tennis pro Dimitrij Ovtcharov likes the new perspective. In Germany, a spectacular team is formed around him.

Olympic bronze medalist Dimitrij Ovtcharov will return to the German Bundesliga as part of a spectacular table tennis project. Just days after his departure from Russian giants Fakel Orenburg, the former world number one revealed on social media that he, Japanese prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto, Swedish world runner-up Truls Möregardh and also world number six Lin Taiwan’s Yun-Ju will play for club TTC Neu-Ulm, which was only founded in 2019, in the upcoming Bundesliga and Champions League season. Harimoto and Möregardh also confirmed this on their Instagram accounts.

It was “a young but incredibly strong team with which we want to play for the Champions League title,” wrote Ovtcharov, 33. “I’m looking forward to the team, the German fans and the exciting new challenge!”

TTC Neu-Ulm was only founded in 2019, but thanks to a wildcard they immediately entered the Bundesliga. The first participation in the Champions League followed in 2021, also thanks to a wildcard. Now the club wants to compete seriously with the two leaders of German industry, Borussia Düsseldorf and 1. FC Saarbrücken.

Media entrepreneur Florian Ebner is behind the club. The specialist portal “my table tennis” has already called TTC Neu-Ulm the “RB Leipzig of table tennis”. “We want to make a long-term name for ourselves and become a European brand,” managing director Michael Kühn told the portal.

Ebner spoke of a “once in a lifetime opportunity that we didn’t want to miss, of course. Thanks to the charisma of Dima Ovtcharov, to bring such talents to Neu-Ulm, who would have imagined it three years ago. when we founded our clubs can imagine?”

Ovtcharov played for Orenburg from 2010 to 2022 and won the Champions League four times with the club, which was largely funded by Russian gas company Gazprom. Due to the war, the club is now excluded from all international competitions until further notice. The German international, still injured, announced on Tuesday that he no longer wanted to play for the Russian club. “The terrible war against Ukraine makes me stunned and very sad,” said Ovtcharov: “It’s actually not the sport’s fault, but I can’t continue playing table tennis there!” Ovtcharov was born in kyiv in 1988. His grandmother lived in the Ukrainian capital until a few weeks ago.

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