Memorable moments: oldest and youngest medallists

Published on 12 September 2022

175 sets of medals were awarded at the European Championships Munich 2022. We’ve already covered how four athletes managed to win three gold medals, two countries swept the podium and summed up all newly set records. But Munich 2022 had even more in store and more we can reminisce about.

The age gap between the oldest and youngest medallist – both happen to be female – is astounding, so let’s talk about the successes of 16-year-old gymnast Angelina Andreoli and 59-year-old table tennis player Xia Lian Ni.

59-YEAR-OLD NI BAGS MEDAL FOUR DECADES AFTER WORLD TITLES

59-YEAR-OLD NI BAGS MEDAL FOUR DECADES AFTER WORLD TITLES

Luxembourg’s Xia Lian Ni keeps showing table tennis fans that age is just a number. The 59-year-old, who won two gold medals at the 1983 world championships, secured a spot on the women’s doubles podium as she and partner Sarah De Nutte won their quarterfinal. “It’s wonderful,” Ni said. “It’s always a challenge. Everybody is very strong, and we are very satisfied until now.” Ni was born in Shanghai, where she made the Chinese national team in 1979, aged 16.

She won her first world championships medals representing China before moving to Europe and eventually Luxembourg, which she has represented since 1991. With De Nutte, 29, she won bronze at last year’s world championships. Heading into the semi-finals, the pair secured bronze, but she is as hungry for victories as ever. “I’m always motivated. If you have no motivation, you better stay home,” Ni said.

16-YEAR-OLD ANDREOLI CLAIMS FIRST INTERNATIONAL MEDALS

On the other hand, Italy’s Angela Andreoli wasn’t even born until 6 June 2006. Yet the young gymnast seems to also be on a great path, seeing she too is part of the national team at the tender age of 16. Having just turned old enough to compete in the senior division and therefore at Munich 2022 Andreoli showed that talent and grit are more important than age when she became the youngest Munich 2022 medallist.

First, the Italian won gold in the team all-around, which was spear-headed by her compatriot Asia D’Amato. Later in the week, Andreoli followed the success up with an individual bronze medal on floor exercise, showing that she can hold her own against the very best in all of Europe.

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European ChampionshipsMunich 2022