(left to right) Beatrice Romanescu, Ella Zeller and Richard Scruton in Hanau (Photo: courtesy of Richard Scruton)
by Ian Marshall, Editor
Born in Timisoara on Saturday 25th November 1933, recently just after her 84th birthday, Ella Zeller Constantinescu greeted welcome visitors; Beatrice Romanescu, Marketing Manager of the Romanian Table Tennis Federation and Richard Scruton, Secretary-General of the European Table Tennis Union, were the distinguished guests.
Lunch followed by a return to her house in the Hanau, Germany, for tea and home made cakes; photographs and newspaper articles of yesteryear proved enchanting reading.
Outstanding at ball games, in addition to table tennis she excelled at handball, volleyball and basketball, when 13 years old, playing for the local town table tennis team she attracted considerable attention.
She stood out from the crowd; in 1950 after leaving high school, she enrolled at the Institute of Physical Culture and Sport in Bucharest, the club where Angelica Rozeanu, six times winner of the Women ‘s Singles title at the World Championships, was a member.
Rapid progress followed, a place in the Romanian national team was achieved and medals at World Championships gained.
Notably, 1956, 1957 and 1963 she reached the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the World Championships but her strength was as team player. In 1953 in Bucharest, she teamed with Angelica Rozeanu to win the Women’s Team title, before in 1955 in Utrecht and 1956 in Tokyo, again with Angelica Rozeanu, she struck gold in both the Women’s Team and Women’s Doubles competitions.
“Ella is looking forward to visiting the 2018 World Championships in Halmstad and the European Youth Championships in Cluj Napoca.” Richard Scruton
Many titles came her way, notably at the first ever European Championships in 1958 she won Women’s Doubles gold, again in partnership with Angelica Rozeanu; before in 1966 she retired from international play but was not lost to the sport of table tennis. She assumed the position of head coach for the national team before fulfilling a major role within the European Table Tennis Union. She became a member of Management Committee, later she assumed the role Vice President and is now a honorary member.
Beatrice Romanescu and Richard Scruton will be assisting Ella Zeller Constantinescu in producing a biographical and historical project about her life in table tennis; undoubtedly it will be intriguing reading.