Viktoria Lucenkova has been a mainstay in Malta’s table tennis team in recent years, winning several medals during the biennial Games but this time around the Slovakia-born player will have a bigger influence on her team as she was handed the role of national coach and team captain.
“It has always been a pleasure and a challenge for me to represent Malta and contribute to winning medals in team, doubles or singles events,” she said.
“This year it is even more special for me. It is the first time that I’m going to play the GSSE on home soil. I think it will also be my last international event as a professional player. So I would like to make it as successful and memorable as possible.”
Luchenkova admits that her preparation for the Games has been different given that she was responsible on the preparation of every member of the team.
“The preparation was as usual physical, technical, tactical and league matches in France,” she said.
“But this time it was a little bit different for me as I took on the role of the national coach and will be playing as team captain during the Games. It is a big responsibility for me, now I have to make sure that every member of the team is as well prepared as I am.
“The table tennis GSSE women’s event will have a very high world level, with at least three players from world top 80 and the highest-ranked player is currently number 17 in the world.
“The teams are very balanced. It will be a big challenge for our team, hopefully, the home crowd will come to support us and help us to show our best. And besides that, it will be a unique opportunity to see the world’s top players perform in Malta.”
Asked how these Games can help in the promotion of the sport, Luchenkova said: “It is good to see Malta improving its sports culture into a sustainable and professional environment.
“Recently many interesting and popular sports projects were launched here which made sports more accessible and professional for kids and teenagers. The GSSE is for sure one of them, I’m confident it will inspire and motivate many more kids to start or get successful in sports.”
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