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Thursday, December 01, 2022

travel to japan

Table tennis player Nina Mittelham is one of the top performers at TTC Berlin Eastside. However, the club will miss him in the first half of the Bundesliga season. The 25-year-old has been brought to Japan for a guest appearance.

13th in the world rankings, 2nd in the German rankings: Nina Mittelham is one of the big names in table tennis. The 25-year-old from Willich has been playing for TTC Berlin Eastside since 2018 and was able to win a championship, cup and a treble of the Champions League with the team in 2021. But his ambition does not stop here. Mittelham’s big goal is to finish in the top ten: “It’s been my dream since I was really young that my name would appear there someday.”

For this, Mittalham will start a special journey in the next six months. She skips the first half of the Bundesliga season and will instead play for Japanese T-League club Kyushu Astida. However, because she wants to continue playing for Berlin in the Champions League, Mittelham will travel. The center of her life is in Germany and in between she is always in Japan for a few weeks. It was out of the question for him to go to Japan solely for his guest performance: “My family is here and I wouldn’t be able to do without them. If I had to go to Japan for six months now, it would be mentally too much.” ”

EM. support after

Mittalham has also been able to count on the support of her family in recent weeks. At the European Table Tennis Championships, which took place as part of the European Championships in Munich, the 25-year-old made it to the finals, but the tournament did not end as desired. In the final, Mittelham faced Sofia Polkanova of Austria. When the score was 0:2, Mittelham had to apply for a break in treatment. His right shoulder had given him trouble already in the semi-finals. Although she was able to return to the hall afterward, she had to stop after four points. With tears, Neena Mittalham congratulated her contestant on the title.

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Shoulder is better now again. “I started slowly coming back to training this week,” Mittelham says. However, she is still processing what she experienced. This would have been Mittalham’s first major singles title. “In any case, it is still very difficult to digest. But I am slowly realizing that I have become the European vice champion in spite of everything, which should not be underestimated,” said the 25-year-old. She spent a little time with her family during the injury: “It always helps a lot. To get out of this table tennis routine and everyday life and deal with other things.”

Following the European Championship final, Mittalham was asked from several quarters about the injury-related work and received well wishes via social media. “I don’t think there will be many experiences or experiences in his career. It’s not a good moment,” Mittalham says. However, she does not consider it the most difficult moment of her career so far. Last year, the 25-year-old was only the fourth player to be nominated for the Tokyo Olympics: “I think it was too bad for me at the moment.”

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new adversaries

Nina Mittalham wants to grow as an athlete so that it doesn’t happen again before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The station in Japan should help. “I just wanted to play against others again. I know everyone in the German league. I’ve played against them a lot of times,” says Mittalham. In Japanese leagues, there are more games against the same team, but this can be set up independently. “It brings a lot of variety to the game,” said the 25-year-old.

In his preparation, Mittelham also talked to other German players about the Japanese league. His teammate Shan Xiona has already gained experience there. While table tennis tournaments in Berlin usually go under the radar with only a few spectators, interest in Japan is enormous.

“Japan has a completely different culture. You have to deal with different things. It speaks a different language, but these are all things you can use to grow,” Mittelham says. She wants to use the time in Japan to grow playfully and personally. And with the experience gained, Mittelham wants to go for the title again at the next individual European Championship.

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