Friday, 13 September 2013

Ping Pong Runway #3: The Dodean Sisters

It's true, sisters have a strong image in any sport and in table tennis it's no different. The Dodean sisters, Daniela and Andreea from Romania are part of a family of table tennis, with 2 brothers in the sport also. While Daniela is most notable for her international performances, having been ranked 19th in the world in 2010 and playing in the Italian and Austrian league's top divisions, sister Andreea was also a strong contender in the 2nd league in Germany. I had the unique chance to ask them both a little bit about the image of women's table tennis!

Andreea (left) and Daniela (right) Dodean
Daniela left home at the age of 10 and began training at the Olympic Centre, she has come a long way since then and recently married Portugese National Team member Joao Monteiro. Daniela is based at the Schlager Academy in Schwechat, Austria where she competes for SVS Strock. Sponsored by Butterfly since just 13 years of age, the 25 year old is still one of Europe's hot contenders in any competition.

Butterfly Sponsored Daniela Dodean
Image Courtesy of ITTF
So down to business. The sisters were unanimous, as with most females in the sport today that skirts are definitely the future of women's table tennis. Andreea said they were more comfortable and prettier, while Daniela said she definitely preferred to wear a skirt. Andreea said perhaps given time she could also wear a dress while playing but for now the skirt was definitely more comfortable to play in.

The sisters both agree that image is important for the growth of the sport. "People are coming to watch table tennis will enjoy seeing nice looking girls also" Daniela says, while she also emphasises that it's important for the male players to look presentable too for spectators and TV.

Romstal Romania Calendar
Daniela was approached via the ITTF earlier this year by Maxim, an international magazine for men where she featured in a brief interview. She is also involved in the Romstal Calendar shoot, the national sponsor of the Romanian team produce a calendar once a year to help raise funds for the athletes. Above is this year's calendar whilst Daniela features in a more classy look in the previous calendar.

Daniela on the right in the Romstal Calendar
Growing up with a family of table tennis players is obviously something very special though Daniela admits that it was hard as both herself and brother Adrian trained in the centres from a young age, she was clearly grateful to have him there though to look after her. Now Daniela enters a new phase of her life with her new husband, of course I wish them the best of happiness they are both amazing players and wonderful people. You can see my interview with Joao on my blog also :)

Andreea at the Romanian National Championships
So as we conclude another chapter in the mini series of Ping Pong Runway, it is becoming clear that there is a strong belief that the image of women's table tennis is crucial for the sport's growth and that skirts are the way to go! Thank you so much to Daniela and Andreea for helping coordinate with me to do this it was my pleasure.

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