by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publication Manager
The win means that he has won gold at what can be considered the full gambit of world title events, the only player to achieve the distinction.
At the World Championships, he won the Men’s Singles title in 1991 in Chiba. In addition he was a member of the successful outfit that secured the Men’s Team title at the same tournament, as well as two years earlier in Dortmund and two years later in Gothenburg.
Later at the World Team Championships staged in 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, he was pivotal to Sweden’s success in the Men’s event, whilst earlier in the same city in 1991 he had won the Men’s World Cup. Meanwhile to complete the collection in 1990 in Japan, he was a member of the Swedish outfit that lifted the Team World Cup.
However, in Las Vegas it very nearly did not happen. The Men’s Doubles 50 Years title was secured with a final win over the combination formed by Hungary’s Sandor Varga and Germany’s Andreas Fejer-Konnerth, success in straight games (11-7, 12-10, 11-8); the Men’s Singles Over 50 Years victory was very different.
After beating Russia’s Aleksandr Savelev (11-7, 11-2, 11-4), Jörgen Persson was stretched the full five games distance by Germany’s Andras Podpinka, eventually succeeding by the very minimal of margins (11-1, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10). Earlier at the semi-final stage, Andras Podpinka, a former member of the Belgian national team, had beaten Denmark’s Allan Bentsen (11-8, 12-10, 11-5).
The top step of the podium for one illustrious name and there were more of the same ilk.
Most notably, Austria’s Chen Weixing won Men’s Singles 45 Years accounting for Germany’s Jörg Rosskopf in the final (11-3, 11-9, 11-8), the duo the previous day having combined to win the Men’s Doubles 45 Years title when overcoming Russia’s Geoirgii Rubinshtein and Aleksandr Savelev in the final (11-4, 12-10, 11-9).
Similarly in a battle of renowned internationals who have competed in both World and European Championships; now in the colours of Germany, Wang Yangsheng who represented Norway during his professional days, won the Men’s Singles 55 Years title beating Austria’s Ding Yi (11-4, 11-9, 11-9) in the title deciding contest.
Also, there was success for Indonesia’s David Jacobs, bronze medallist in Men’s Singles Class 10 at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, he won the Men’s Singles 40 Years title defeating Ju Mingwei of the United States in the final (12-10, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8).
Gold for notable male names; similarly, notable female names secured titles. The names of Rita Kertai and Tong Feiming caught the eye.
A stalwart of Hungarian efforts for many years, Rita Kertai beat Cécile Ozer, a great servant of Belgian over the decades, to win Women’s Singles 40 Years. She secured victory in a full distance final (11-9, 13-15, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5).
Five games for Rita Kertai to gain success, for Tong Feiming, winner of the Women’s Singles event at the 1997 ITTF World Tour English Open and quarter-finalist at the 1995 World Championships, the top step of the podium was reserved in four games.
After recording a semi-final success in opposition to Romania’s Olga Nemes, the 1983 Europe Top 12 champion (11-5, 11-8, 12-10), she beat Canada’s Barbara Chiu (11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6) to seal the title.
Play in Las Vegas over, attention now turns to France; the city of Bordeaux will host the 2020 World Veteran Championships.
2018 World Veteran Championships: List of Players
2018 World Veteran Championships: Results and Draws