30 Mar 2017

A second chance, it rarely happens but when it came the way of Jörgen Persson, the opportunity was seized. In 1989 at the World Championships in Dortmund he had been beaten in the Men’s Singles final by Swedish colleague, Jan-Ove Waldner; two years later in Chiba, he reversed the decision.

Later at the 2005 World Championships staged in Shanghai, after losing to Germany’s Timo Boll, he announced his retirement but as in the previous decade, he came back.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Contrary to expectations he returned to the international scene, he competed in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and then after giving the matter some thought returned again to ply his skills in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Now once again, Jörgen Persson, who will celebrate his 51st birthday on Saturday 22nd April, is set to make yet another return; former United States President, Bill Clinton, named the “Comeback Kid” in 1992 has nothing on the dapper Swede!

Furthermore, he is set to return to action on home soil! He has his eyes set on the 2018 World Team Championships, to be staged in his home city of Halmstad; the first time since 1993 that the tournament has been held in Sweden, on that occasion, the global event was organised in Gothenburg.

In the west coast Swedish city, alongside Jan-Ove Waldner and Peter Karlsson he was a member of the Swedish outfit that beat China in the Men’s Team final. Notably in the third match of the fixture he overcame Wang Tao (26-24, 16-21, 21-16) in a three-one team win; however, in the Men’s Singles event it was a surprise first round exit. He was beaten by Frenchman, Patrick Chila (21-14, 21-14, 21-17) it was not the best feeling in the world.

“This was the worst 50 minutes of my life. To lose to a qualifier makes me feel unwell but there are a lot of good players around and Chila is one of them”, Jörgen Persson (Gothenburg 1993)

Now in 2018, let’s hope he will feel better. Jörgen Persson will seeking more success but it is victory of a different nature; whilst no doubt he hopes for Swedish triumphs, an overall successful tournament is his priority.

Ma Long and company, you can relax; should China reach the Men’s Team final and, as in 1993, face Sweden; Jörgen Persson will not be in the opposing line-up. However, I’m happy to give you odds of 500 to 1 that if the situation occurs he’ll don the blue and yellow shirt, swipe a few backhands and gain a standing ovation!

“Who knows, maybe I will be back in the court to be able to experience this unique event”, Jörgen Persson

Jörgen Persson has been named is the official ambassador for 2018 World Team Championships and I am sure the organisers will find some way for him to enter the arena on the concluding day of play and extol his legendary skills. I’m also sure he’ll receive the well-deserved standing ovation.

Recently Jörgen Persson has appeared on Swedish television. He has featured in two highly popular shows “Mästarnas Mästare” and ”Superstars”; whilst also competing on the Legends Tour which visited Halmstad in 2015. Additionally, he promotes dairy products in China and mentors Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov.

“It is a great honour to get this assignment and I am looking forward to helping the organisation to spread and market the Championship in the best possible way. Actually it is quite amazing that our city is hosting this huge world event. I truly hope that as many people as possible will use this opportunity to see all world stars on site here in Sweden in general and Halmstad in particular.” Jörgen Persson

An ambassador for the 2018 World Championships; I cannot think of a better choice, Johnny Ewerstein, Project Manager, for the tournament has not one shred of doubt.

The seven times Olympian is the perfect selection.

“It would be impossible to find a better role model and ambassador and I am fully convinced that we will benefit a lot from Jörgen and his strong table tennis network in several ways. The fact that he is born and raised in the city and got his table tennis education in the local club Halmstad TTC, makes it even more interesting. Jörgen is a highly respected name in the table tennis world and is often referred to as the “true gentleman of the sport” and this is exactly the type of person with whom we wish to collaborate.” Johnny Ewerstein

The 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championship will be staged from Sunday 29th of April to Sunday 6th May; it is estimated over 350 million viewers will watch the televised broadcasts.

Jörgen Persson, the perfect choice (Photo: courtesy of Peter Johansson)
2018 World Team Championships Jörgen Persson