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 was the order of proceedings for the 424 participants in age groups ranging from 40 to 85 years of age.

Many close matches in singles, doubles and mixed doubles but it was not as you say blood, sweat and tears it was more like blood, sweat and laughter. Determined but smiling faces, enjoying competition, relishing in the atmosphere, scanned the arena as friendships were strengthened and memories created.

Sweden dominated both with the number of participants and also with the results. The host country won 21 gold in 30 classes and if you consider the total medal count they were even more dominant.

Star of the show was the host nation’s Nosrat Safai. He won three golds in the 70 years and over age group. A retired mathematics teacher he now teaches children to play table tennis and with great success. Two of his children, now close to 30 years old are former top level players.

He lives and breathes table tennis and now teaches the next generation. Earlier this year he was awarded the prize as “Youth Teacher of the Year” in his home municipality; a great role model and an example for table tennis for all, for life.

2018 Northern European Veteran Championships: List of Entrants and Full Results

Roll of Honour

Men’s Singles 40 – 44 Years

1. Mikael Wikström (Sweden) 2. Daniel Nilsson (Sweden) 3. Henrik Drugge (Sweden) 3. Patrick Zachrisson (Sweden)

Men’s Singles 45 – 49 Years

1. Fredrik Åborg (Sweden) 2. Tobias Johannesson (Sweden) 3. Harri Hanski (Sweden) 3. Clas-Henric Wallgren (Sweden)

Men’s Singles 50 – 54 Years

1. Ola Bernersson (Sweden) 2. Thomas Beckman (Sweden) 3. Allan Kottise (Estonia) 3. Jorma Lahtinen (Finland)

Men’s Singles 55 – 59 Years

1. Bo Lindmark (Sweden) 2. Markuu Kivistö (Sweden) 3. Åke Huss (Sweden) 3. Göte Svensson (Sweden)

Men’s Singles 60 – 64 Years

1. Pål Guttormsen (Norway) 2. Per Gustafsson (Sweden) 3. Göran Aldvik (Sweden) 3. Stefan Jansson (Sweden)

Men’s Singles 65 – 69 Years

1. Roger Sundqvist (Sweden) 2. Göran Skogsberg (Sweden) 3. Povilas Baguzis (Latvia) 3. Jouko Manni (Finland)

Men’s Singles 70 – 74 Years

1. Nosrat Safai (Sweden) 2. Lars Thomas Samulesson (Sweden) 3. Matti Lappilainen (Finland) 3. Arvi Garpenhed (Sweden)

Men’s Singles 75 – 79 Years

1. Hans Fredén (Sweden) 2. Åke Berg (Sweden) 3. Konstantinas Kuprys (Lithuania) 3. Torsten Lager (Sweden)

Men’s Singles 80 – 85 Years

1. Kai Merimaa (Finland) 2. Ingvar Johnsson (Sweden) 3. Per Magnusson (Sweden) 3. Toni Borg (Sweden)

Men’s Singles Over 85 Years

1. Uno Hedin (Sweden) 2. Ola Lagerqvist (Sweden) 3. Bengt Bergström (Sweden)

Women’s Singles 40 – 49 Years

1. Linda Almgren (Sweden) 2. Merje Aas (Estonia) 3. Annie Blomqvist (Sweden) 3. Anna-Carin Ahlquist (Sweden)

Women’s Singles 50 –54 Years

1. Lena Johnsson (Sweden) 2. Yvonne Blomquist (Sweden) 3. Anette Spångberg, Sverige

Women’s Singles 55 – 59 Years

1. Lena Johnsson (Sweden) 2. Yvonne Blomquist (Sweden) 3. Anette Spångberg (Sweden)

Women’s Singles 55 – 60 Years

1. Yue Xia Wang-Fridén (Sweden) 2. Eva Lindh (Sweden) 3. Christine Portnoff (Sweden) 3. Mona Fridell (Sweden)

Women’s Singles 60 – 64 Years

1. Kai Thornbech (Estonia) 2. Evi Ilves-Schalk (Estonia) 3. Eva Doverby (Norway) 3. Elle Öun (Estonia)

Women’s Singles 65 – 70 Years

1. Eva Hanni (Estonia) 2. Wivika Andermo (Sweden) 3. Klara Väiko (Estonia) 3. Kerstin Drotz-Skeppstedt (Estonia)