Veteran World Championships 2018

Jörgen Persson, Champion of all classes

This title was the only one that was missing, but finally that’s done now, too. Jörgen Persson, Single World Champion 1991, Team World Champion 1989, ’91, ’93 and 2000 has never been World Champion in Men’s Double before. Until just a few days ago. However, it has changed now. At the Veteran World Championships in Las Vegas the DONIC star, together with his long-time companion Erik Lindh, won the double competition and also the singles title – both titles in the age group over 50.

A matter of course? Definitely not. Veteran World Championships still are a gigantic mass sports event – in Las Vegas there were more than 4.000 participants, among them 400 players in class over 50 -, but there are more and more former international players. In the final of the single competitions Persson had to break hard resistance: The long-time Belgium national player Andras Podpinka seemed to be without any chance for two sets, and Jörgen Persson already considered himself safe, but then nearly the whole thing would have gone wrong. “After the first two sets, I thought: no problem”, said the Swede, “but then problems came up.” In the decisive fifth round Persson was leading 5:2 at the side change, but then he was 5:8 and 7:9 behind. “That was close”, he admitted after a 12:10 success. “Podpinka has also told me that he still plays every day.” The Belgian had won over the Danish ex-national player Alan Bentsen with 3:0 who is still playing in the Danish first league. Jörgen Persson won over the Russian Aleksandr Savelev who had won over Erik Lindh in the quarter final.

Besides in the final, DONIC star Jörgen didn’t give up any single set, and also in double competition it was only once a bit close. The 3:1 in the semi-final against the former first league player Wang Yansheng and Nicolai Poplla, the two Swedes named an anticipated final. In the final against Andreas Feyer-Konnert, also a long-time first league player and the Hungarian Sandor Varga, at the 3:0 it wasn’t difficult for them.

Seniors World Championships aren’t an official tournament of the world association ITTF, but Jörgen Persson was very pleased about his success though. Especially about the title in double competition, which had been his declared aim. Stellan Bengtsson, Singles World Champion 1971 and later Swedish National Coach, had pushed his compatriot Persson to start in Las Vegas. Bengtsson has lived in the Californian San Diego for a long time and helped with the organization of this seniors World Championship from the background. Upon his request Persson decided to take part, “but I wanted to play with Erik, as we had never been World Champion before.”

So that’s done now too, and thus there is only one big aim left for Jörgen Persson. 2008 at the Olympics in Beijing he had reached the semi-final at the age of 42, but had narrowly missed the medal he had longed for. “Now I hope for the introduction of the Olympics for veterans”, he announced laughing. “That’s my last chance to win an Olympic medal.“

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