Viliam Polakovič

* 1943  

  • "The nomination came for the first time when we went on a trip to China. At that time it was unique. At that time I was a 15-year-old on a three-month tour in China. I was there with such names as Andreadis, Stipek, Vyhnanovsky. Five of us... I was the only Slovak there, I was the only one from Slovakia for many years. It was much harder for us, we had to be considerably better than they (Czechs) to be nominated."

  • "We practically taught the Chinese. When we arrived, we won 5: 0, 6: 0, 7: 0. But they learned very quickly and they taught us a few years later. Already in 1961-1962, they were world champions... I explain it by the fact that there was a huge mass of people playing table tennis because, in China, one had to excel in some sport to be able to go abroad... Even the children had special tables, the base was huge. They had what to select from.“

  • "Well, you know when I tell you this... We started playing in a pub. It was called Peklo, račianske Peklo. We went to a common room with two tables. We always waited for the elders to go for a beer, only then we could play. But we could put up with that in that time.“

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    Bratislava, 07.11.2019

    duration: 44:15
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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Extraordinary success of the European Champion

Viliam Polakovic
Viliam Polakovic
photo: Post Bellum

Viliam Polakovic was born during World War II on October 13, 1943, in Rača. He started playing table tennis thanks to the neighbours whom he trained with. He began in the legendary pub Peklo, as a nine-year-old played in the Račian club and at the age of thirteen he introduced himself in the adult league. He was the only Slovak who came with a Czechoslovak expedition to a workshop in China, where he spent three months. In 1958, (as a fifteen-year-old), he competed at the European Championship in Prague, where Czechoslovakia won silver in doubles. The greatest success came in 1961 when he won the European Championship title in singles, doubles, mixed doubles and teams at the European Junior Championships in Berlin. This remained unparalleled by any table tennis since then. As a 27-year old, he ended his active career to become a coach. In the following year, he worked in Czechoslovak and later Slovak national youth team. He was also behind the great success of Alica Grofova, who won silver in the World Championship in 1973 in Sarajevo.