Tournaments

01 May 2019

One of the breakout news stories from the Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships saw Mattias Falck become the first Swedish player to reach the men's singles final since Jan-Ove Waldner won gold in 1997.

Taking home a silver medal from Budapest, Mattias Falck has guided Swedish table tennis back to the top of the sport and on his arrival home he received a hero's welcome.

by Simon Daish

Falck translates to Falcon and very much like the bird of prey Mattias spent 24 hours in Stockholm flying around, visiting all the major television stations. Following his magnificent display in Budapest the country’s interest in the star has peaked.

On arrival at the airport in his hometown of Halmstad, Mattias Falck was welcomed in style by the airport firefighters who greeted him with a water rainbow. Not everyone can say that they’ve experienced that! But, the celebrations didn’t stop there as he met with his teammates and other club members at Halmstad TTC.

“I couldn’t believe it! Even the pilots flying me welcomed me on board and congratulated me.” Mattias Falck

Tuesday 30th April also marked the first day of Spring in Sweden “Valborgsmässoafton” a day which is celebrated with music, speeches and bonfires. Adding to the festivities Falck’s homecoming was another cause for celebration with around 8000 people welcoming the 27-year-old home. However, Falck was not the only person who received a warm welcome as the city, along with the Swedish Table Tennis Association, also hailed the return of former legend of the sport and Falck’s coach Jörgen Persson who was also in attendance.

The Mayor of Halmstad, Mr. Jonas Bergman stated his elation at Falck’s achievement in Budapest and was especially delighted from a personal point of view to see the nation celebrating a local to Halmstad:

“This weekend something happened that we have not seen for 22 years, a Swedish table tennis player reached the final in a World Championships! This guy also lives in Halmstad which makes us extremely proud and happy.” Mr. Jonas Bergman, Mayor of Halmstad.

Humble as always Falck has been heartened by the love and support he has received since his arrival back in Halmstad:

“The past 24 hours have been crazy with interviews and TV-programmes and when I’m here in front of all these people it’s almost too much for me. I’m very happy and thankful for all the support you have given me, I felt it all the way to Budapest.” Mattias Falck

The Swedish Table Tennis Association has decided to honour the historic outing at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships with the unveiling of a special award “The Falck”, which will see €1000 being awarded to a standout individual with Mattias Falck presenting the award in person.

“It’s table tennis fever in Sweden after the success in Budapest for Mattias Falck and Swedish table tennis. Yesterday was a big celebration of Mattias and his coach Jörgen Persson in his hometown of Halmstad. STTA decided to establish a prize called “The Falck” that every year will be awarded to someone who made, tried or developed something extraordinary within Swedish table tennis with the prize being handed out by Mattias Falck. We are so happy to feel the support for table tennis in Sweden again. The only way to alleviate the fever is to play more table tennis.” Petra Sörling, chairman of the Swedish Table Tennis Association.

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Day 8 - 2019 World Table Tennis Championships

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