March: Vladimir Samsonov

This month we focus on a table tennis legend, Vladimir Samsonov, who was recently crowned champion of the ITTF Qatar Open. Samsonov, who is now 38 years old, beat Germany’s number one Dimitrij Ovtcharov in Doha to clinch the Qatar title.

Samsonov was born in 1976 in Minsk, Belarus; he began playing table tennis at the age of six and joined Dusseldorf aged 17 for a six year period. Samsonov has won many prestigious tournaments in his long career including: the World Cup, the European Championships and a record 26 ITTF World Tour gold medals. Few, however, expected him to still be winning World Tours at the age of 38. Dimitrij Ovtcharov who was convincingly beaten by Samsonov in the Qatar Open final, best summed up how impressive a victory it was for the Belarusian legend with a big smile, despite losing to the 38-year-old.

Samsonov currently plays in the Russian Super League for GAZPROM Fakel Orenburg with whom he has won the European Champions League twice. He is married, has two children and speaks four languages – Russian, English, German and Serbian.

Samsonov vs Freitas ECL 2014
 photo provided “courtesy of the ITTF”