Success earlier in the proceedings, when alongside Ewout Oostwouder they won the Men’s Team Standard Division at the Liebherr 2015 ITTF-European Championships; it is step by step for Rajko Gommers and Laurens Tromer of the Netherlands in Ekaterinburg.

In their opening contest in the Men’s Doubles event, they experienced defeat against the Ukraine partnership of Oleksandr Didukh and Ivan Katkov; critics may say they should have won, more accurately they could have won.

They led 6-4 in the decisive fifth game before matters slipped from their hands (7-11, 11-5, 11-4, 4-11, 11-8), arguably the result illustrated the difference between the Standard Division where the Netherlands had won ever contest by three matches to nil and Ukraine who had finished in 16th and last place in the Championship Division.

Small Difference but Vital
The difference was not that great but there was a difference; at the vital moments in the deciding fifth game, the Ukraine duo remained stable and firm, the Netherlands duo perhaps just rushed matters a little, as they saw the finishing line in sight.

“They are more experienced than us”, said Laurens Tromer who, like Rajko Gommers, is 20 years old, as opposed the Ukrainian duo who are both over 10 years older. Oleksandr Didukh is 33 years of age; Ivan Katkov is just two years younger.

“Also, I think we became a little nervous, we made mistakes, we lost confidence”, added Laurens Tromer. “We made errors in counter top spin rallies, perhaps we should have tried to block more and play safer.”

Bitter Defeat
Rajko Gommers was in agreement.

“Maybe we just tried to force things too much”, said the young man who had suffered a bitter experience at the TMS European Team Championships one year ago in Lisbon.

In the vital match against Wales, to gain promotion to the Challenge Division, he was beaten by Ryan Jenkins; a match in which he elected for “Time Out” when trailing 7-8 in the deciding fifth game. Ryan Jenkins won the next four points and then on his second match point at 12-11 secured victory!

Worked Hard
“We have all worked so hard in the past year and I am sure we have made progress”, continued Rajko Gommers. “We have Li Jiao helping us, we are all learning such a lot from her; she has such a lot of experience and knowledge having played at the very highest levels.”

The young men from the Netherlands came so close against the Ukraine duo; a return match in six months’ time may realise a different result. The main factor is that they are now amongst the top 32 teams and depending on what decisions are made as to the future of the Team events at the European Championships; in two years’ time they can look forward to playing at a higher level.

A Target
“Top 25 maybe even top 20 is a goal”, concluded Rajko Gommers. “It should be possible.”

In Ekaterinburg there is enough evidence that the higher goal may well be achieved, the young men from the Netherlands have made notable progress in the past year.

At the next European Team Championships, they may well challenge the illustrious names.

The Men’s Doubles event is organised in two stages, the pairs finishing in first place in each of the 12 groups advance to the main draw; four “Lucky Losers”, drawn at random from those in second place also progress to join the 16 seeds.

Bron: ITTF – 30 september 2015