28 Apr 2018

It is now 25 years ago since the World Championships were last staged in Sweden, the year was 1993, the city was Gothenburg, in the final of the Men’s Team event, the host nation beat China by three matches to one to retain the title for third consecutive time.

Much water has passed under the bridge since those days, the ball is now bigger, the service rule has changed and we play best of five games, each to 11 points, as opposed to best of three to 21 points.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

In those heady days now resigned to history, Peter Karlsson gave Sweden the perfect stat in the final by beating Wang Hao (13-21, 21-19, 21-16), now that is not the pen-hold grip player who won the Men’s Singles title at the 2009 World Championships in Yokohama, the 1993 Wang Hao was a right handed shake-hands grip defender.

China levelled when Ma Wenge beat Jan-Ove Waldner (14-21, 21-14, 22-20), before Jörgen Persson accounted for Wang Tao (26-24, 16-21, 21-16) and Jan-Ove Waldner returned to the fray to conclude proceedings. He accounted for Wang Hao (21-16, 17-21, 21-13).

Can such success by repeated in 2018 in Halmstad? Realistically it is not on the cards but is a medal possible? Remember England two years ago in Kuala Lumpur; they gained promotion from Division Two in 2014 in Tokyo, then won bronze in the Malaysian capital city.

Guiding the ship is Ulf “Tickan” Carlsson, the man who, against the odds steered Sweden to gold at the 2000 World Team Championships. In Halmstad his charges are Anton Källberg, Kristian Karlsson, Mattias Karlsson, Truls Moregard and Jon Persson.

“It’s a long time ago, 1993 was so special but here we have a good young team, they are improving all the time. They have a lot of energy and there is a good spirit amongst the players. Now the task is to move to the next step; here we have to do something extra.” Ulf “Tickan” Carlsson

A home crowd, superb conditions, the scene is surely set for the next step.

“Every time I come into the hall, the venue is better day by day, the conditions are very good. Everyone who comes will see a good level of play; a quarter-final place is the realistic aim but nothing is impossible, a medal is the dream but who knows, nothing is impossible, it’s sport!” Tickan Carlsson

Furthermore, sitting in the tiered seating will be a very special supporter, Jörgen Persson, winner of the Men’s Singles title at the 1991 World Championships and crucial to Swedish success in both 1993 in Gothenburg and in 2000 in Kuala Lumpur is a native of Halmstad.

“I’ve not played since 2012 but then I did beat Timo Boll! I’ve been helping the team, practising with them. It would be a dream to repeat 1993.” Jörgen Persson

Dreams do happen and maybe being in Halmstad is to some extent a dream realised for Germany’s Timo Boll.

“I grew up watching Sweden’s great players, when I started Sweden was the best.” Timo Boll

Now Timo Boll ranks as one of the great players of the sport, as does Jörgen Persson who has a goal in mind. He will compete in June in the World Veteran Championships in Las Vegas.

“Sure I want to go to Las Vegas and I aim to win; I never won the Men’s Doubles event at a World Championships, so that’s one of my aims in Las Vegas!” Jörgen Persson

He will play doubles with Erik Lindh, memories of yesteryear but now for the future.

The current Swedish Men’s Team starts their quest for honours on the opening day of play; they confront Romania who select from Adrian Crisan, Ovidiu Ionescu, Cristian Pletea, Rares Sipos and Hunor Szocs.

2018 World Team Championships Sweden

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Day 8 - Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships

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