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More sport | Boll, a countercultural icon

by archysport

This weekend Timo Boll is walking through Barcelona, ​​an unknown athlete for all those who are not German (or Asian) and who are not passionate about table tennis. A countercultural icon for those who know him. German is to table tennis what Carolina Marín is to badminton, a rare champion in a sport dominated by Asians. “You have to have a special talent to excel in a sport that is so popular in Asia,” he says by way of sentence. His presence in the Ciutat de Barcelona Trophy is the claim for one of the best German athletes of the last two decades.

Timo Boll was born in Erbach in 1981. A West German town that deprived Boll of being a great tennis player, which would not only have earned him more income but more fame. “I had much more talent in tennis, but the city council did not allow us to build a court. My father decided that it was not worth betting on it. At home he had a table and could play tennis whenever he wanted. That is how I learned.”. The German grew up listening to the stories his grandfather told him about World War II (“we are lucky to live in Europe”) and undergoing training from his father, who had been a “lower-class player.”

Despite having the coach at home, the German tennis player confesses that his father has nothing to do with Mike Agassi, the father of the famous tennis player who terrified him with hard training when he was a child, as he explains in his biography Open. “My father never forced me to play table tennis and he never punished me. He just offered to help me. We have a very good relationship! He understood sport very well to help me,” he explained to AS. This is how Boll grew, winning the tournaments of his age, and losing when he had to move up the ranks very quickly.: “It was important for my development to play with older boys and lose.”

Four Olympic medals and a 24-year career

At 16, Boll knew that he was going to be a professional player, aware that “only a few can make a living from this.” He is one of them, with an enviable record: two silver and two Olympic bronze, six silver and two world bronze. 24 years of career, no gold but splendid fame and popularity in Asia. “I am happy to survive in table tennis (in Tokyo it was a podium). In Asia they have perfect sports systems. At the age of eight they already become professionals and focus on sport every day. There is a great media sport. People love me. known as one of their rivals for 20 years, I did not misbehave because they like me“, he sentenced.

A table tennis icon, few Europeans have crept onto international podiums in recent years. Boll is part of the German team, a regular on the podiums, with the tennis player as the oldest player and icon. In the Rio 2016 Games he was flagged. “I feel lucky,” says an iconic athlete, who at 40 continues to wage war: in Tokyo he hung another medal.

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