A positive start for Penti Niukkanen (Photo: Owen Hammond)
On duty when the tournament was first staged in 1982 in Gothenburg, present ever since that date, on Monday 16th January, at the Muscat 2023 World Veteran Championships, Finland’s Penti Niukkanen made a most promising start to proceedings.
Competing in men’s singles 80-84 years, in his opening contest he was beaten by Iran’s Sohrab Taherian (11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4) but recovered to overcome the German duo of Bruno Thumann (12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10) and Dietmar Peche (7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-0).
He spoke to Claude Bergeret, President of the Swaythling Club International.
What are your best memories of the first WVC in 1982 in Gothenburg?
Do you mean the sporting side or the night life! In fact my doubles’ partner who shared my room needed to close the windows during the night but I needed to have fresh air. It was a bad preparation for me not to breathe fresh air during my sleep!
Looking back at all the WVC tournaments, which stand out the most in your memory?
It was Baltimore in 1990 because of the hotel, very nice, the circumstances, the environment.
What do you consider to be your best ever result?
In Zagreb in 1988, in doubles we lost against the doubles who reached the final. We were very proud of that.
What do enjoy the most about the WVC?
To feel that I am healthy and can play, it is a very good thing to be able to participate.
Have you any recommendations for the WVC for the future?
No nothing particular. The concept is good. Only one remark: we get the draw information quite late but again the concept is very good.