Present for the occasion (left to right) Jaroslav Stanek, Pavel Spacek, Miroslav Bindac, Eliska Furstova-Krejcova, Milan Orlowski and Lumir Ruzha (Photo: courtesy of Jaroslav Stanek)
by Jaroslav Stanek
Staged recently in Prague, the traditional Annual Meeting of the Czech Republic section of the Swaythling Club International possesed a festive atmosphere; the members celebrated the 50th anniversary of the organisation’s foundation.
Furthermore, the 90th birthdays of two illustrious members, Eliska Furstova-Krejcova and Lumir Ruzha were marked.
They are both still active players and take part regulary in senior tournaments, not only in our country, but also abroad. Both competed in the recent 2017 European Veteran Championships in Helsingborg from which they returned with medals. Lumir won Men‘s Doubles Over 85 years gold, Eliska Women’s Doubles Over 85 years silver.
Now they are planning to compete in the 2018 World Veteran Championship in Las Vegas, where they intend to draw the curtain on their careers.
Always setting excellent examples, during our meeting each recieved a well deserved prize and small financial gift. The prize was personaly handed over by Zbynek Spacek, the Chair of Czech Table Tennis Association and also one of our members.
Notably, Lumir Ruzha in his early sporting career was a top ice-hockey player. He began playing table tennis seriously after reaching 30 years of age. At the European Veteran Championships, he has won 16 medals (five gold, five silver, six bronze ); at World Veteran Championship 12 medals (three gold, four silver, five bronze).
Conversely Eliska Furstova – Krejcova had a somewhat different career. She discovered the enchantmet of table tennis as a young girl. Very soon she was nominated to play for what was in those days known as Czechoslovakia. Notably, she won 14 medals at the European Championships (four gold, six silver, four bronze) plus nine at the World Championhips (one gold, three silver, five bronze).
She also played for the top Czech club, Sparta Prague, winning several national individual and team titles.
It was a chance to shake hands warmly and thank them for the splendid manner in which they had represented our country. Notably, also present for the occasion was 70 year old Jitka Karlikova-Nyklova, alongside Milan Orlowski and Pavel Spacek, both 65 years of age. Likewise present was Dana Dubinova–Bayerova, 60 years of age, as well as Alice Pelikanova – Roubalova and Miroslav Bindac, both 55 years old.
We are pleased that the Swaythling Club International continues to be a flourishing organization. Last year we accepted Petr Korbel, the best Czech player in the last 25 years; this year we accepted Zdenek Remes, who at the age of 15 years, competed in the 1963 World Championship in Prague.
He was considered as a great talent and a future top table tennis player. However an unfortunate car accident ended such hopes However, he never surrendered and in spite of health problems he began to study a university and now is a renowned lawyer.
He still plays table tennis – its a part of his life !