Tsvetelina Georgieva from Yunak sports club in Ardino is the young hope of Bulgaria’s table tennis


Yunak table tennis club in Ardino, Kardzhali district, was founded in the remote 1961. In 1992 the club’s management launched an international tournament in honor of one of its first founders Turgut Ademov-Dzhofi who also worked as a coach at this sports club. In August this year the 14th edition of the international table tennis tournament was held. Beyhan Emin, who is one of the table tennis coaches at Yunak club told Radio Bulgaria that Ardino has strong traditions in table tennis. Beyhan Emin began practicing at this sports club when he was a child and now he is training children and cadets for international table tennis tournaments.

15 table tennis athletes are registered in Yunak sports club. A group of nearly 20 children is also training at the table tennis club.

Table tennis is an individual sport. It is quite difficult and requires personal work with each child, Beyhan Emin explains. Every coach should train a maximum of 10 to 12 children. Then, his work will yield high results. We practice every day. We even have lessons in the weekends, which depends on the schedule for our competitions and tournaments. The trainings of the children from the preparatory group last for at least one to one and a half hours and the elder children train for two hours a day.

Tsvetelina Georgieva is one of the children who are training at Yunak sports club. She is fourteen now and started to practice table tennis six years ago. In the beginning, table tennis was just a hobby for her. However, in time, Tsvetelina grew keen on this sport. The young athlete told Radio Bulgaria details on how she manages to combine school lessons with table tennis:

It is not that easy to combine table tennis with school, but I manage to do it somehow. For instance, I go to school in the morning. At 2 pm I finish school and start training table tennis at 3 pm. At about 5 pm a go back home and start writing my homework. Before important competitions I go straight to the sports hall when I finish school. We practice from 3 pm until 5 pm. Then we do our homework in the sports hall and later we practice table tennis again.

Tsvetelina’s hard work and perseverance quickly yielded results. Thanks to her talent and hard work she became part of the national table tennis cadet team. In 2017 she became athlete of the year in Ardino and participated in many national and international tournaments. In May this year she became a U15 republican table tennis champion. In June Tsvetelina won a bronze medal at the Table Tennis Balkaniade for Cadets and in August she placed first at the International Table Tennis Tournament in Ardino. Tsvetelina’s last big victory was in the beginning of September when she earned gold medal at the Young Hopes International Table Tennis Tournament in Varna, where she performed great and won all her games.

Tsvetelina managed to defeat a Romanian athlete at theInternational Table Tennis Tournament in Varna. The Romanian team is Europe’s strongest team at the moment and last year they became European champions, Beyhan Emin specified. Despite the severe competition, Tsvetelina managed to demonstrate her character and won the title at this strong international table tennis tournament.

Tsvetelina had many strong emotions during international competitions, but a European table tennis tournament in the Czech Republic, where she won a difficult match, was sealed in her mind. I won 23:21 on penalties. You must be mentally strong and do your best in the most difficult moments, in order to reach your goal. To me, this was one of the most important games in my sports career.

Sport brings people closer and makes them feel responsible, Tvetelina says. Those who already started practicing this sport should have perseverance, in order to continue and the ones who are considering practicing table tennis should always work hard, Tvetelina says in conclusion.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: courtesy of Tsvetelina Georgieva

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