by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The journey takes many different routes, for the majority playing in local and regional competitions ensues; for the few it is progress to national level and for the very, very few international honours and even greater things aspire.
Equally, for another small group there is an involvement that follows the path of coaching or that of being involved in administration; one such person who has followed that route is Steve Dainton, player to coach to administrator.
Once the Oceania Development Officer; now the ITTF Chief Executive Officer, he was on duty in Las Vegas.
Competing in Men’s Singles 40 Years, he made a good start; he beat Sweden’s Anders Lindström by the very narrowest of five game margins (11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 5-11, 12-10); pleased to win but that was not the overriding priority.
“It was lots of fun that’s the most important thing here at the World Veterans I think. I just qualified as of March, so really happy to be here. Just enjoy to play some table tennis rather than sitting behind an office desk.” Steve Dainton
Enjoyment and nostalgia, the World Veteran Championships is a holiday; it is only when players arrive at the quarter-final stage of proceedings that matters take on a comparatively serious air. It is the chance to be a world champion; that opportunity presents itself in Las Vegas and in two years’ time in Bordeaux. Winning an international title in the main stream of play was cloud cuckoo land.
“We will start the World Veteran Tour next year and let’s say that might help me shed some kilos and get a little more in shape. Looking forward to Bordeaux for more reasons than just table tennis; I will prepare harder for that one!” Steve Dainton
Bordeaux awaits in 2020 but in the meantime the ITTF World Veteran Tour is scheduled to start and for Steve Dainton, the preparation needs to start now in earnest!
Alas it was third place in his group; in his ensuing matches it was defeat at the hands of Switzerland’s Roy Suter (11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11) and when facing Hungary’s Robert Ruck (6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5).
Defeat but at the end of the day above all it was fun; just as when for the very first occasion bat was laid on ball. The fascination never diminishes.