Intense competition on both Swedish coastlines

Jimmy Andersson winner of Men's Singles 40 Years (Photo: Lars Lanhed, Masonit Design) by Ian Marshall, Editor In Stockholm China’s Fan Zhendong and Japan’s Mima Ito were displaying their skills, winning the respective men’s Singles and women’s Singles titles at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open. On the same day, Sunday 4th November, on the opposite coast of the country in Gothenburg, there was equally intense competition; play was concluding in what has become the biggest veteran tournament in Northern Europe, the 40th edition of the Idrottsforengingen Ifo. Venue for the proceedings was the Exercishusets Sporthall, the destination for no less than 114 players; in addition to the host nation players travelled from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Norway, Poland and Russia. Play

Notable names secure Santiago podium places

Augusto Morales won men's singles 50 to 54 years (Photo: Cristian Larrain) by Ian Marshall, Editor Concluding on Saturday 10th November, six days of intense action came to an end at the 2018 Latin American Masters Championships in Santiago, Chile; a tournament in which several most notable names from the host nation competed. Augusto Morales and Juan Papic were in action as were their female counterparts Berta Rodriguez and Sofia Tepez, a significant feature of the tournament being the high number of pen-hold grip players; once the popular grip in the continent, nowadays ever more in the minority. Impressively Augusto Morales continued to employ the pen-hold grip to good effect; winner of the Men’s Singles title at the Latin American Championships in 2001 in

World champion in Beijing, Georgeta Pitica passes away

Georgeta Pitica, sadly missed (Photo: courtesy of Beatrice Romanescu) by Ian Marshall, Editor It is will great sadness that the Romanian Swaythling Club advises the death of Georgeta Pitica. Born in 1930, she passed away quietly on Saturday 13th October, she was 88 years old. The peak of her career was in the early 1960s, an era when the formula for the Women’s Team event was four singles and one doubles, two players per team but often a third being introduced for the doubles. At the 1961 World Championships in Beijing, partnering Maria Alexandru, Georgeta Pitica secured Women’s Team bronze prior clinching Women’s Doubles gold. Notably, in the Women’s Team competition they experienced a three-two defeat at the hands of China’s Sun Meiying, Chiu Chunghei

Judit Magos, member of a golden Hungarian era

A recent photograph of Judit Magos with her European Table Tennis Union's Hall of Fame plaque (Photo: Gabor Felegyi) by Ian Marshall, Editor A legend in her own lifetime, it is with great sadness that the Hungarian Table Tennis Association advises the passing of Judit Magos. Born in Budapest on Monday 19th February 1951, she died on Thursday 18th October; she was 67 years old. Rather different to the norm, Judit Magos was a right handed pen-hold grip player, in some ways similar to Zoja Rudnova, a player of a generation earlier who employed a similar style to great effect, when representing the country then known as the Soviet Union. It was in her home city of Budapest, when 13 years old that Judit Magos

Joe Veselsky, 100 years old, happy birthday!

Joe Veselsky (centre) with (left) Pat O'Brien and (right) Joe Hickey (Photo: Catherine Hickey) by Joe Hickey, Irish Table Tennis Association Josef Veselsky, now that’s too formal, he is Joe; he was born in the same month as the independence of the country known as Czechoslovakia was officially proclaimed. During his youth Joe developed great sporting ambitions and focused his energy towards table tennis; he achieved a top 10 national ranking. He became a banker, married Katarina, always Kathy, who was her husband’s greatest supporter throughout their 64 year marriage, until she passed away in 2009; they had two children, Peter and Kate. Memories of happy times but also Joe endured very sad times in his early years. In 1938, he was 20 years old

Uppsala, perfect venue for blood, sweat and laughter

Norway's Sissej Leffman (left) playing (right) Estonia's Kai Thornbech in the early rounds of the Women's Singles 60 to 65 Years event (Photo: Max Ansbro) by Max Ansbro, Swedish Table Tennis Association Staged from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th September, in Sweden’s fourth biggest city, Uppsala more renowned for its University founded in 1477, than its table tennis history; perfect conditions greeted the players for the 2018 Northern European Veteran Championships. A total of 64 tables in the same hall was the impressive scene; furthermore, the venue was just 200 metres to the Arena hotel. Norway's Sissej Leffman (left) playing (right) Estonia's Kai Thornbech in the early rounds of the Women's Singles 60 to 65 Years event (Photo: Max Ansbro) Three intense days of competition

Michael Thornhill, Swaythling Club founder member

Micky Thornhill (centre) with Ron Thompson (left) and (right) Brian Kennedy at the YMCA in Wimbledon prior to competing in his first junior international match against Sweden (Photo: courtesy of Diane Webb) by Diane Webb It is with great sadness that the death of former England international Michael Thornhill, always known as Micky, is announced. Born in Croydon in South London on Monday 26th January 1931, he was 87 years old; he passed away in a nursing home in Huddersfield in the north of England. Micky started his table tennis career in the Staines League; it wasn’t long before he became their number one player. At that time the league teams consisted of four players which led to some very late nights with 12

Dragutin Surbek, the Lion of Zagreb

How we remember Dragutin Surbek; immense powers of concentration (Photo: courtesy of the late Zdenko Uzorinac) by Ian Marshall, Editor It is with great sadness that the death of Croatia’s Dragutin Surbek is announced; he passed away on Sunday 15th July. Born in Zagreb on Thursday 8th August, he was 71 years old. Immense powers of concentration, sitting in a darkened room before a match started, Dragutin Surbek, his playing style, the high level of fitness made him not only a national hero but a hero wherever he played; the Chinese named him the Zagreb Tiger. Alway he gave his utmost; he never believed that any point was ever lost. Renowned throughout the sporting world, Dragutin Surbek endured a somewhat difficult childhood, his father was

Remember the day, better than a medal

Jörg Rosskopf smooth progress (Photo: Leon Libin) by Ian Marshall, Editor Bronze medallists at the Olympic Games, Sweden's Erik Lindh in Seoul in 1988 and Germany’s Jörg Rosskopf, eight years later in Atlanta, each kept hopes of at least repeating the achievement alive at the 2018 World Veteran Championships, currently being staged in Las Vegas Impressively, engaging memories of yesteryear, both emerged successful on Friday 22nd June. Erik Lind progressed safely to round five in Men’s Singles Over 50 years as did the younger Jörg Rosskopf in Men’s Singles Over 45 years. Now matters have reached a stage where life becomes more serious; neither experienced any great difficulties but let’s spare a thought for the players they beat first in the group stage and then

World Veteran Tour announced

James Morris addresses those present for the launch of the ITTF Veteran World Tour (Photo: Leon Libin) by Ian Marshall, Editor Immense growth, in the Swedish city of Gothenburg in 1982, approaching 400 players competed in the first ever World Veteran Championships. Now, for the current edition, which commenced in Las Vegas on Monday 18th June, the total is some 4,000 players, 300 tables in use. Interest high and soon ever higher; supported by the Monday Club and very much the initiative of Frank Ji, Special Adviser to Thomas Weikert, ITTF President, the ITTF World Veteran Tour will commence in 2019. Already the demand for organised tournaments for veteran players is on high; there are several on the calendar which are well established; rather