Members of the Swaythling Club International with local organisers (left to right) Philippe Dumonteil, Eberhard Schöler, Diane Schöler, Claude Bergeret, Robert Geneste, Hans Westling (Photo: courtesy of Eberhard Schöler)
by Ian Marshall, Editor
Situated on the west coast of France, the port city of Bordeaux will be the home for the 2020 World Veteran Championships; a June date is anticipated but has yet to be finalised.
Recently from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd April, Eberhard Schöler, the President of the Swaythling Club International, accompanied by his wife, Diane, the Honorary President and Hans Westling, Chair of the World Veteran Championships Organising Committee visited Bordeaux for a first inspection visit. They met with local organisers Claude Bergeret, Benoit Glorieux, Philippe Dumonteil and Robert Geneste.
On the first day the two proposed playing venues, the Velodrom and the Exposition Hall Complex were visited. The Velodrom has a capacity for 4,500 spectators, with depending on the space needed for benches, desks and other necessary furniture, a potential 45 table tennis table can be accommodated.
Sufficient space but without doubt lighting levels need to be raised to a minimum of 600 lux throughout the whole arena; the large window sections on walls and roof need to be covered; sport flooring will be laid.
Additionally, the complex offers 12 dressing rooms with showers and a number of meeting rooms.
Meanwhile, the Exposition Hall Complex (Expo Complex) which is 600 metres distant, a shuttle bus will travel between the two venues, is divided into 35 sections separated by pillars. Each section can accommodate 24 table tennis tables. It is propsed to cover the concrete floor will a sports flooring and as in the Velodrom raise the lighting to a minimum 600 lux.
A large venue, the air conditioning will be checked so as not interfere with play; tiered seating will be installed with dressing rooms and showers provided in portable buildings. Practice facilities will be organised in a building next to the Velodrom or inside the Expo Complex, possibly even in both venues.
Pertinently, less than 1,500 metres distant from the two sports halls are 30 hotels of various levels plus a camping area; nearby is a tram station, the distance to the city centre being some 20 minutes.
Welcome visitors on the first day were local officials, the Bordeaux Tourism Office made a presentation which was followed by a cocktail reception attended by representatives from Bordeaux City, Bordeaux Office and Tourism, Bordeaux Sports University as well as members of both regional and national table tennis federations.
“The region Ligue d’Aquitaine is a genuine table tennis area with 15,000 registered players, 300 local umpires and 100 local referees available. More volunteers with table tennis experience will be educated if needed.” Eberhard Schöler
Inspecting the premises concluded, a sightseeing tour on the top deck of a double decker bus was organised; the day concluding with a visit to the offices of the regional table tennis association. The visit was summarised and the constitution of the World Veteran Championships studied in detail.
It is anticipated that 3,500 to 4,000 entries will be received; the announced limit being 4,000; it is further anticipated there will be an additional 500 to 1,000 accompanying guests. Thus at least 130 table tennis tables will be required; a total of 38 in the Velodrom plus the four Expo Complex sections holding 24 tables each.
Matters concluded on the third day of the visit with a resume of items discussed; lunch was arranged in the spendid setting of Arcachon Bay situated on the Atlantic Ocean, no doubt it will prove a haunt for many who attend the 2020 World Veteran Championships.
Overall a successful visit, three years to go; the 2020 World Veteran Championships is in good hands.