Angelica Rozeanu: probably the most successful female TT player


Angelica Adelstein-Rozeanu was a Jewish Romanian and Israeli table tennis player, and according to analysts was the most successful female table tennis player in the history of the sport, winning the women’s world singles title six years in succession. This feat, which she achieved between 1950 and 1955, has not been equaled to date. She is also the last non-Asian woman to win the title - for the past 50 years the event has been dominated by the Chinese, the Japanese and the Koreans. She was born on October 15, 1921, in Bucharest, Romania and died aged 84 on February 22, 2006, in Haifa, Israel.


Angelica Rozeanu was born in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, into a Jewish family. She began playing table tennis at the age of nine and won her first title in competitive play three years later. Some reports say that she had scarlet fever and when convalescing her brother Gaston, almost eight years her elder, came home with table tennis bats, balls, and a net to entertain her. When only 15 she won the Romanian national women’s championship. She was to remain her country’s women’s champion for the next 21 years (1936-57).

In all, Angelica Rozeanu won a total of 17 world titles, including the world’s women’s doubles title three times (1953-55) and the world mixed doubles titles three times (1951-53).

According to an article appeared in Telegraph, which said: "her artistry was revealed less in the power of her shots than in her exceptional footwork and ball control. She knew instinctively when to attack and when to defend, exhibiting an unnerving patience during even the longest of points."

In 1937 she took part in her first world championships, finishing third in the mixed doubles with Geza Eros, of Hungary. The following year she won her first major international competition at the Hungarian Open; and in 1939 she came second at the world championships in the women’s doubles (with Sari Szasz-Kolozsvary) while helping Romania to take the bronze medal in the team event.

The Second World War disrupted the international game. From 1940 to 1944 she was barred from even entering a gymnasium in Romania, she played virtually no table tennis from the age of 18 to the age of 23. But she returned to competition with a more attacking style, a tactic which paid off when she took her first world singles title in 1950. In doing so, she became the first Romanian woman to win a world championship in any sport.

Angelica Rozeanu won the world doubles title in 1953 with Giselle Farkas of Hungary, and in 1954 and 1955 with Ella Zeller of Romania; her mixed doubles titles were won with Bohumil Vana of Czechoslovakia (1951) and with Ferenc Sido of Hungary (1952 and 1953).

In 1954 she was appointed a Merited Master of Sport, Romania’s highest sporting distinction. From 1950 to 1960 she served as president of the Romanian Table Tennis Commission.

She also received four Order of Work honors from her government. Appointed as a Deputy of the Bucharest Municipality in 1955, she and other Jewish players found themselves forced out of the Romanian Federation in 1957 when an anti-Semitism rose. In 1960 Rozeanu moved to Israel, where she continued to play professionally.

But she kept in close touch with her native country, and last visited Romania in 2005.

Rozeanu died on February 22, 2006 at her daughter’s (Miki) home in Haifa, Israel. Her death came less than a month after she learned she had cirrhosis.

In 1981 Rozeanu was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1995 Rozeanu was inducted into the International Table Tennis Foundation Hall of Fame.



The New York Times

Associated Press

International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame


World Championships Medals

Gold 1950 Budapest Women’s Singles

Gold 1951 Vienna Women’s Singles

Gold 1952 Bombay Women’s Singles

Gold 1953 Bucharest Women’s Singles

Gold 1954 Wembley Women’s Singles

Gold 1955 Utrecht Women’s Singles

Gold 1953 Bucharest Women’s Doubles

Gold 1955 Utrecht Women’s Doubles

Gold 1956 Tokyo Women’s Doubles

Gold 1951 Vienna Mixed Doubles

Gold 1952 Bombay Mixed Doubles

Gold 1953 Bucharest Mixed Doubles

Gold 1950 Budapest Women’s Team

Gold 1951 Vienna Women’s Team

Gold 1953 Bucharest Women’s Team

Gold 1955 Utrecht Women’s Team

Gold 1956 Tokyo Women’s Team

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