Ulf Thorsell, the prodigy (1956 – 2021)

Ulf Thorsell, a player who set the standard for others to follow (Photo: courtesy of Swedish TTA) Skills developed at the Spårvägen club, Ulf Thorsell died suddenly at his home in Albufeira Portugal on Tuesday 8th June. Born on Sunday 18th March 1956, he was 65 years old. Ulf Thorsell was the golden boy, the prodigy. At the 1973 European Youth Championships staged in Athens, he fell just one step short of a full house. Alongside Thomas Berg, Christer Hafn and Per Sandström, junior boys’ team gold was secured, later he partnered Christer Hafn to junior boys’ doubles success, prior winning the boys’ singles event. Significantly in the final he beat England’s Desmond Douglas, a player against whom he was overcome on more than

Anton Hamran elected President of Slovak Table Tennis Association

Anton Hamran at the conference on Friday 18th June (Photo: Slovak TTA) At the helm of numerous tournaments under the umbrella of both the International Table Tennis Federation and European Table Tennis Union, on Friday 18th June, Anton Hamran was elected President of the Slovak Table Tennis Association In a secret ballot, of the 50 delegates present he gained an overwhelming 45 votes, the term of office being from 2021 to 2025. A member of the ETTU Youth Committee and holder of the ETTU Badge of Honour, he succeeds Zdenko Kriz who held the post for 38 years. Anton Hamran was formerly the Secretary-General of the Slovak Table Tennis Association; moreover, he is the man responsible for the quality printing of the Swaythling Club

Fujie Eguchi, one of Japan’s finest, passes away

Fujie Eguchi in 2015 (Photo: World Table Tennis) The oldest living world champion, Japan’s Fujie Eguchi passed away on Friday 28th May. Born on Friday 18th November 1932 in Nagasaki Prefecture, Fujie Eguchi moved to Osaka at the age of seven. She went to Higashisenba High School, where when 13 years old she started to play table tennis, before entering Osaka Pharmaceutical University. Petite, pen-hold grip using one side of the racket only, alongside the likes of colleagues Tomie Okawa, Kiiko Watanabe and Kimiyo Matsuzaki, she was instrumental in setting a new trend in the sport of table tennis; speed both with movement and technical skills hallmarks of their play. Prior to her appearance, defensive skills, combined with sporadic attacking strokes were very much

Anatoly Amelin, 75 years old

Anatoly Amelin in 1968 Born on Saturday 8th June 1946, now on Tuesday 8th June 2021, we mark the 75th birthday of Anatoly Amelin. Representing the Soviet Union, Anatoly Amelin established a most successful men’s doubles partnership with Stanislav Gomozkov. At the World Championships in 1967 in Stockholm, the duo emerged the runners up, two years later in Munich they were bronze medallists, a tournament in which Anatoly Amelin also reached the men’s singles semi-finals. Additionally, in Stockholm, partnering Zoja Rodnova, mixed doubles bronze was secured. Likewise at the European Championships, in three consecutive tournaments commencing in 1966 in London, it was men’s doubles bronze in harness with Stanislav Gomozkov. All were tournaments in which he was a member of the Soviet Union men’s team that

Athletes of the Nation, Istvan Jonyer newest member

A richly deserved award for Istvan Jonyer (Photo: Micheller Szilvia) Awarded to Hungarian athletes over 60 years of age, who continue to play decisive roles in sport, Istvan Jonyer, winner of the men’s singles title at the 1975 World Championships in Calcutta, was inducted into the Athletes of the Nation order on Friday 21st May. Overall, 12 athletes comprise the group, a vacancy arising following the passing of Sarolta Monspart earlier this year on Wednesday 21st April; in 1972 she became the first non-Scandinavian female runner to win the World Orienteering Championships. Existing members of the group made the decision, eight being physically present, the remaining three keeping on contact by phone. A margin of 50 per cent of the vote required to gain

Orange Order of Orange-Nassau bestowed on Han Gooten

Han Gootzen recognised for his contribution to the community (Photo: courtesy of Bert van der Helm) Presented on Monday 26th April, a total of six men and one woman received the Member of the Order of Orange-Nassau; one such recipient was 62-year-old Han Gootzen from Uden. A national holiday, known as King’s Day, the day marks the birth of Willem-Alexander, the King of the Netherlands, the award is made in recognition of outstanding service to the community in general. In addition to being Chair of the Business Events Uden Foundation from 2013 to 2017 and being a mainstay at Uden Hockey Club, in 1969 Han Gooten became a Board Member of the Netherlands Table Tennis Association, serving for 24 years. More recently, in the

ITTF Veteran International Calendar

The scene in 2019 in Shenzhen The ITTF Veteran calendar for 2021 – 2022 is currently as follows: 2021 Saturday 15th May: Hostinne, Czech Republic – International Tournament Saturday 22nd - 23rd May: Albena, Bulgaria - 8th international tournament Saturday 12th June: Prague, Czech Republic - International Tournament Thursday 22nd – Sunday 25th July: Albena, Bulgaria – 23rd International Festival Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th August: Varna, Bulgaria - 21st international tournament Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th August: Burgas, Bulgaria - 10th international tournament Friday 27th – Sunday 29th August: Albena, Bulgaria – 8th int. team championshipsCancelled Saturday 4th September: Liberec, Czech Republic - International Tournament Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th September: Sunderland, England - Vetts North Eastern Masters Friday 10th – Sunday 12th September: Karlskrona Veteran Open, Karlskrona, Sweden Sunday 26th September

Historic date: 50 years ago, Australian Ping Pong Diplomacy

Paul Pinkewich, a member of the 1971 Australian team (Photo: ITTF) Much has been written over the years about the United States team visiting China, following an invitation received at the 1971 World Championships in Nagoya; the outcome being that the following year Richard Nixon, President of the United States, visited the world's most populous country. However, less well known is that the Australian table tennis team also accepted an invitation from the Chinese government; Wednesday 21st April marks 50 years since those wearing the colours of the green and gold, stepped foot on Chinese soil. Australian Ping Pong Diplomacy was enacted, matches, training sessions and cultural visits being the order of proceedings; the effect closer relations were established between the two countries,

Leszek Kucharski, newest member

Leszek Kucharski at the 1981 World Championships in Novi Sad (Photo: Malcolm Anderson) Born on Wednesday 8th July 1959, Poland’s Leszek Kucharski is the latest member of the Swaythling Club International. The now 61-year-old competed in eight World Championships commencing in 1997 in Birmingham, before being ever present from 1981 in Novi Sad to 1993 in Gothenburg. Most notably in 1985 in Gothenburg, alongside Stefan Dryszel, Andrzej Grubb, Andrzei Jakubowicz and Norbert Mnich, he was a member of the Polish outfit that secured bronze in the men’s team event. The performance matched the best ever from a Polish men’s team at a World Championships; significantly, it marked 50 years since their first ever success. In 1935 in London, the trio of Aloizy Ehrlich, Loewenhertz

Libuse Uhrova in our thoughts

Libuse Uhrova, always a warm gentle smile (Photo: city of Pardubice) Born in 1935, Libuse Uhrova, perhaps better known by her maiden name, Libuse Grafkova passed away on Friday 9th April; suffering from cancer, she was 86 years old. A career which started in 1947, she was a member of the Czechoslovak national team from 1952 to 1963, occupying top spot on the national rankings throughout 1957 and 1958. In 1992 Libuse Uhrova with Steve Boros, Ichiro Ogimura and Ferenc Sido (Photo: Ebby and Diane Schöler) Playing days over, from 1964 she turned her attentions to coaching, firstly at the Sokol Pardubice club; then later in 1974 at T.J. Tesia. Displaying initiative, she fostered international matches against Yugoslavia, as well as for a period of