Thinking of Mips Van Kampen

The 1961 Yugoslav Open, the Belgian team (left to right) Mips Van Kampen, Georges Roland, Pierre Juliens and Joseph Demolin

Born 95 years ago on Monday 19th October 1925 in Antwerp; we remember Mips Van Kampen passed away on Monday 19th August.

Well respected, she joined the Royal Belgian Table Tennis Federation in 1949.

In 1957 at the national championships she won the women’s singles title and with Maria Van Overloop enjoyed the same success in the women’s doubles event; the following year once again the pair emerged the victors.

Consecutive women’s doubles successes; in fact it was to be four in a row. In 1959 and 1960, she secured the title in partnership with Ghislaine Roland. A most notable feat, one that was matched by her mixed doubles wins in harness with Walter Dugardin; likewise she claimed four in a row commencing in 1956.

Overall, she represented Belgium internationally on 32 occasions.

Notably she competed at the World Championships in 1955 in Utrecht and in 1959 in Dortmund; also she was present at the European Championships in 1958 in Budapest, 1960 in Zagreb and in 1962 in Berlin. Later in 1963 she became coach of the Belgian national women’s team.

Setting high standards of integrity, upholding the principles of fair play, there was always a bright smile on the face of Mips Van Kampen.

Moreover, she belied her age, younger looking than her years suggested. At the first European Championships in 1958 in Budapest, Richard Bergmann asked Belgium’s leading player Georges Roland “Who is this young lady? How old is she, 19, 20 or 21 years old?” Georges replied: “I don’t know but if she is younger than 23 years old I buy you a drink; in the other case you pay for the drink. Let us ask Mips to show her passport.”

At that time Mips was 32 year old. Richard had to pay the drink!

Loyal, Mips Van Kampen was a member of the Swaythling Club International for over 40 years.