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Vladimir Samsonov has announced his retirement

Vladimir Samsonov has announced his retirement.

The 45-year-old Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus announced his retirement from competitive table tennis on July 2021. He is the only player to win the Champions League tournament three times in a row.

A twenty-year veteran of the European elite, he is an enormous champion.


A legend of table tennis

On social media, the “Goodbye Vladi” grew in popularity. Russian table tennis legend Vladimir Samsonov, 45 years old, announced Friday that he was retiring from the competition. Injured in his shoulder since international events resumed in March in Qatar, he had given up on competing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo (July 23-August 8). After fifteen years in the top 10, he fell to 28th place in the world rankings.

After 25 years at the top of the world now it's over
After 25 years at the top of the world now it’s over

He climbed to the top of the podium on all tables (singles, doubles, teams). I competed in three World Championships (vice-champion in 1997), 16 European Championships, and seven World Cups (victory in 1999, 2001, and 2009). In six Olympic games, from the Atlanta Games of 1996 to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, he competed and placed fourth.


The best European players

With three different clubs, 13 European Champions League victories. With Jan-Ove Waldner, Samsonov is the second-best European player of all time.



Samsonov has won the Champions League thirteen times, a record, thanks to his serenity, his round-the-clock play, and his compassion, making him an undisputed representative of athletics. Orenburg is the club he has spent the most time with, having played there for the last five seasons.

Samsonov is sponsore by Tihbar
Samsonov is sponsored by Tihbar

He has played for Charleroi (BEL), Düsseldorf (ALL), and Orenburg (RUS) (2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019). Currently, he is the coach in Russia.


Artist “Tai Chi Master”

Samsonov, nicknamed the “master of tai chi” in China because of his versatility, won the silver medal in the doubles in the Tianjin World Championships in 1995. When he became world number one in 1998, he was awarded European champion in singles for the first time, then in 2003 and 2005.

Vladi in younger years
Vladi in younger years

Former Charleroi teammates Patrick Chila (51) agree on one thing: “He’s an extremely selfless guy,” Chila adds. He was the team’s top player, and while he won all of their games, he made sure to give credit to his teammates and show appreciation to his coaches.

Vladimir Samsonov is ending his career
Vladimir Samsonov is ending his career

To put it another way: He was one of the most talented people I’ve ever had to deal with. While the opponent had the upper hand in terms of possession, he was still able to maintain his footwork thanks to a strong sense of anticipation and a unique attitude.”

Here is one of the best match of Samsonov:

Vladimir Samsonov vs Kong Linghui | 1997 World Table Tennis Championships | FULL MATCH

Watch this video.

 


Withdraw from Tokyo Olympics 2020

Many European and World Cup championships and runners-up have been won by Samsonov since his debut in 1995. Also for the past seven years, he has served as the chairman of the ITTF Athletes Committee His influence in the table tennis community is tremendous.

Vladimir Samsonov the legend - the gentleman in table tennis (1)
Vladimir Samsonov the legend – the gentleman in table tennis (1)

Unfortunately, he has yet to earn an Olympic medal in his career. Samsonov was able to defeat a German player with a broken rib at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but he lost the bronze medal match. Nonetheless, Belarus recognized his contribution and presented him with the Medal of Honor following the game.

Vladimir Samsonov the legend - the gentleman in table tennis (2)
Vladimir Samsonov the legend – the gentleman in table tennis (2)

A few weeks ago, the 45-year-old veteran stated that he would not compete in the Tokyo Olympics because of an injury he sustained while training.

He was widely expected to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games at the moment. However, this wish was not accomplished.


The Fair Play Award

In his long career as a player, Samsonov has experienced Wang Tao, Kong Linghui, Liu Guoliang, Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, Zhang Jike, Ma Long, Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong, etc. Several generations of Chinese players have also changed themselves from “Little Sam” to the “Old Sam”.

Vladimir Samsonov the legend - the gentleman in table tennis (3)
Vladimir Samsonov the legend – the gentleman in table tennis (3)

Samsonov has always been known for his humility and “sports gentleman” in the table tennis world. In 2005, he also won the Fair Play Award from the International Olympic Committee. In 2020, Samsonov was elected as the deputy of the European Table Tennis Federation. One of the chairpersons.

Vladimir Samsonov the legend - the gentleman in table tennis (4)
Vladimir Samsonov the legend – the gentleman in table tennis (4)

Prior to this, he served as Chairman of the Athletes Committee of the International Table Tennis Federation for seven years.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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