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RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Belarus star paddler Vladimir Samsonov says he believes that China's dominance in table tennis will come to an end someday.


""In one aspect, you can say that China is very strong in table tennis and is still growing very fast...But I don't think Europe or any other country do not have a chance to compete with China. Things may change,"" the 40-year-old veteran told Xinhua on Saturday.


Samsonov, the world No. 3, will begin his sixth-time Olympic campaign on Monday with a men's singles third-round match. He recalled the memories of the 1990s when legendary Jan-Ove Waldner and his Swedish teammates were the team to beat in table tennis.


""More than 20 years ago, you can't say China was dominating. We had so many strong European players at that time, who played very well and were about to win any tournament. That generation was really great,"" said Samsonov.


""Now China is dominating but it doesn't mean that will be like forever.


""Financially, China was a much stronger country in the 1990s than in the 1980s. This also made differences. This means more people could concentrate on sports and more people were working for table tennis.


""Also you have a tradition (of table tennis) in China. You have great cultures and great system and so much experience to do that.


""I know in the 1990s, many Chinese players played in Europe for european clubs, and now everyone is longing to play in China. Even Europeans should go training in China,"" he added.


Samsonov reached the quarterfinals twice in previous Olympics, losing to Wang Tao of China in Atlanta 1996 and the eventual champion Zhang Jike in London 2012.


Speaking of his secret of keeping active at his 40s, the tall Belarusian laughed and said: ""I don't think there's a real secret. At least I won't tell u.""


""Of course you have to be professional, work hard and take care of your body,"" he said. ""And I'm also very happy with my family. I enjoy my life a lot. There may also be that, lucky enough, I haven't big injury. Also style matters. I'm not playing like Ma Lin.""


Samsonov left it an open question whether he'll call it the time to retire from table tennis after these Olympics.


""I'm not the youngest any longer. I'm 40 years. So, probably yes (this is my last Olympics. Maybe most likely yes,"" he said. ""But you never know what gonna happen. Four years is a long time.""


""If you are going to the Olympics, you want to win a medal,"" he added. ""And with my age, the chance is of course getting smaller and smaller.""


Samsonov is not the most experienced table tennis player as Jorgen Persson of Sweden, Jean-Michel Saive of Belgium and Zoran Primorac of Croatia competed at all seven Olympic tournaments between 1988 and 2012, and Segun Toriola of Nigeria is playing at his seventh edition here in Rio.



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