All smiles in Gothenburg (left to right) Pia Toelhoj, Anna-Carin Ahlqvist, Jette Vieg, Petra Sörling (Photo: courtesy of Hans Westling)
by Ian Marshall, Editor
First staged in 1991, the west coast Swedish city of Gothenburg was the recent home for what has become the biggest tournament for veteran players in northern Europe.
Held in the Exercishusets Sportshall and known as the Idrottsföreningen Ifo, the tournament was staged over a three day period from Friday 3rd November to Sunday 5th November.
Players as in previous year from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Norway and the host nation competed as well as for the first time from Estonia, Italy and Wales.
Proceedings commenced in the preserved historical building that dates back to 1850 with team events in the 40 to 59 years category and in the 60 years and over age group.
Individual events followed; a total of seven men’s singles age group categories were organised, three for women’s singles, four for men’s doubles, two for mixed doubles and one for women’s doubles.
Notably, Italy’s Claudio Sassi won the men’s singles 40 years to 49 years category, whilst Denmark also enjoyed notable success. Erling Nielsen emerged successful in men’s singles 70 to 74 years, Pia Toelhöj clinched the women’s singles 50 to 59 years top prize. Notably in addition she partnered the host nation’s Petra Sörling, ITTF Executive Vice President, to success in the women’s doubles event.
Otherwise, Swedish players were very much in the ascendancy.
In the Men’s Singles events, Åke Strom won the 50 to 59 year class, the 60 to 64 years category was secured by Per Svensson, whilst Ingemar Soderburg emerged successful in the 65 to 69 years age group. Similarly, Per Magnussen was anointed 75 to 79 years champion, the 80 years plus title finished in the hands of Toni Borg.
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles events, Linda Almgren won the 40 to 49 year event, Anita Andersson claimed gold in the Women’s Singles 60 years and over category.
It was the 39th time the tournament had been staged.