“The Universiade is an opportunity to represent your Country or your city, and also to fight for them, in a way”.
National pride grows even more, then, when you reach the final stages of a sport ruled entirely by China in the current edition of the Universiade: table tennis. The sole European among a multitude of athletes from East Asia participating in both the men’s and women’s table tennis semi-finals, Sadi Ismailov does not hide his satisfaction at being among the four best in the tournament held at Palatrincone in Monterusciello.
Once gone the chance to compete for silver and gold, after losing against Chinese opponent Yu Ziyang on the morning of July 11th, the Russian athlete now only thinks about his academic commitments in Kazan at the Academy of Sports Sciences and to train in Formia, where he has lived for two years. He also knows some words in Italian and has already been in “bella Napoli”, albeit currently residing in Castel Volturno.
This is the second Universiade for Ismailov after Taipei 2017, where, even back then, he lost “against the Chinese players, but two years ago I participated in the team event in the quarter finals. This time I felt relaxed and more prepared, after a 10 day training and a much deserved vacation: maybe this is what made a difference, together with my determination”, he says.