Petra Sörling, President of Organising Committee, but possibly also a player in Helsingborg (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A total of 2,090 participants from 37 countries will play an estimated 7,500 matches on 87 competition tables, a total of 32 titles at stake; that is the task that faces Petra Sörling, the President of the Swedish Table Tennis Association and her army of good and faithful for the forthcoming 2017 European Veteran Championships.
Furthermore, add husbands, wives, friends, officials et al and no doubt the 3,000 attendance mark will be passed with the very greatest of ease.
Staged in Helsingborg on the south west Swedish coast, proceedings for the 12th edition of the ever popular tournament will commence on Monday 26th June and conclude on Saturday 1st July.
No less than three venues will be used; the Main Helsingborg Arena will house 36 tables, in the Ice Hockey Arena there will be 23 tables, whilst in the Idrottens Hus some 28 tables will be housed.
It is a daunting task for Switzerland’s Reto Bazzi, the Referee and his team of deputies; also for the local organising committee but matters are in good and safe hands; Helsingborg is the home of BTK Rekord, a club which has been organising major international tournaments for over 60 years and started life, to be absolutely precise, on Saturday 7th March 1936.
Notably in 2012, Helsingborg was the home for an ITTF World Tour tournament but could the 2017 European Veteran Championships be the biggest challenge to date?
Accreditation will commence on Saturday 24th June, the Opening Ceremony following on Sunday 25th June; a farewell party will be organised on Friday 30th June.
Intense competition awaits but with the added ingredient of a renewal of friendships; the 2017 European Veteran Championships is a celebration of sport.
Many of those who compete, have lived through an age when the map of Europe has witnessed immense political change but one factor has remained firm, the friendships, the lasting friendships that table tennis brings.
Yes, you want to win but is not the sense of camaraderie the reason why so many will travel to Helsingborg?