Toni Borg, in 2012, as ever competitive (Photo: Christian Heyerdahl)
A stalwart member of the Swedish men’s team, in his prime some six decades ago, following a period of two weeks in hospital, suffering from Covid-19, Toni Borg passed away on Saturday 27th March.
He died just two weeks short of what would have been his 84th birthday; he was born on Saturday 10th April 1937.
A debut when only 17 years old, he played 29 international matches for Sweden, participating in the World Championships in 1957 in Stockholm and two years later in Dortmund.
Additionally, he competed in the 1960 European Championships in Zagreb, the second edition of tournament. Lining up alongside Hans Alser, Tony Larsson, Bjorne Mellström and Stellan Bengtsson, silver was secured in the men’s team event. Perhaps the name Stellan Bengtsson may raise an eyebrow; there were two Swedish players by that name; the player in 1960 was known nicknamed “Stor” (meaning big) as opposed to “Mini” the 1971 World champion.
Significantly, it was Sweden’s first ever medal at the now well-established and celebrated tournament; that is the legacy of Toni Borg.
Toni Borg, in the 1950s a most promising young player. (Photo: courtesy of Swedish Table Tennis Association)
It is with the likes of his colleagues in the 1950s and early 1960s that Toni Borg very much set the standard, not just as a player but as a person; a fact appreciated by Petra Sörling, President of the Swedish Table Tennis Association.
“Swedish table tennis lost not only one of our big table tennis stars, Toni played in our national team from 1954, we also lost a close friend who never stopped playing table tennis. Always, he represented his club Arboga and Sweden as a true role model.” Petra Sörling
A role model, never a phrase more true; Toni Borg helped sow the seeds for future generations. He was there at the very beginning, he played a major role in establishing a dynasty that took Sweden to unprecedented heights, stunning achievements, his contribution immeasurable.
Domestically, he secured men’s doubles gold, partnering Tony Larsson at the 1958 and 1959 Swedish Closed Championships.
Later, he added to his medal collection, proving most successful at veteran tournaments. Ever present at the World Veteran Championships, pertinently competing in 2018 in Las Vegas; his finest hour was in 2004 in Yokohama. He won the men’s doubles 65 to 69 years event, partnering Per Magnusson.
Our thoughts with his wife Agneta, daughters Lena and Mona plus four grandchildren. Toni Borg is sadly missed, rest in peace.
Per Magnussen and Toni Borg, World champions in 2004 in Yokohama (Photo: courtesy of Swedish Table Tennis Association)