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 later in the main draw.
Many of those who enter a World Veteran Championships, never represented their respective countries on the international stage; in Las Vegas, for members of that group, there is a special reward. They can return home proudly announcing that they were beaten by an Olympic Games medallist. In fact I wonder if that accolade is not more rewarding than actually gaining a place on the podium!
Likewise in Men’s Singles Over 50 Years, Jörgen Persson, the 1991 World champion in Chiba, progressed safely to round five, whilst with colleague, Erik Lind, he is through to the Men’s Doubles Over 50 Years semi-final.
Memorable moments for those put to the sword by those who have scaled the greatest heights but if two players leave Las Vegas with the greatest of memories, it must be Germany’s Gerd Hilgert and Marco Chao of the United States. Both beat Hungary’s Istvan Jonyer, the winner if the Men’s Singles title at the 1975 World Championships on Kolkata and in Pyongyang crucial to his country’s success in the Men’s Team event at the 1979 World Championships when Hungary beat China not once but twice.
For the record, Marco Chao won in four games (12-10, 12-14, 11-8, 11-8), rather more comfortably it was a straight games win for Gerd Hilgert (13-11, 11-3, 11-6).
In 1975 or 1979 the outcome might just have been a little different but that’s life, age is a great leveller; that’s the fascination, one of the attractions of the World Veteran Championships.