by Kabir Nagpal
The 28 year old is the first table tennis player to win the award; the third overall.
In 2001 the men’s national team comprising Jan-Ove Waldner, Jörgen Persson, Peter Karlsson and Fredrik Håkansson, guided by coach Ulf Carlsson, received the “Team of the Year” award following their success at the 2000 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur.
Later in 2017, Jan-Ove Waldner received the “Lifetime Achievement Award”, Mattias Falck treads in Illustrious footsteps.
Royal Family present
Joined by the Royal Family, it was a moment to savour for the athlete who sensationally reached the final of the men’s singles event at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest. He was joined by his wife Julia Falck, a former athlete herself for the Ångby club.
“I am so happy for this award. Couldn’t expect to win with such great achievements from so many great athletes through the year. This was a big surprise and I am really happy” Mattias Falck
Hard work rewarded
A year in which any disappointments were overshadowed by achievements, hard work was rewarded for a very brave player. Using short pimpled rubber on the forehand makes him different from the rest in an age when, with the advent on the larger ball and then the change to plastic, rather goes against the trend of modern day thinking in some quarters. It works for Mattias Falck and it works well!
It is very fitting to note that no other shake hands grip player using this combination has ever reached a men’s singles’ final at the World Championships.
In Budapest, the draw might be have been seen as “favourable” but he still Mattias Falck still had to complete the task against players listed amongst the best in the world. The only higher ranked player he beat on the road to the final was Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu but did not that make the task more difficult for Mattias Falck from the quarter-final onwards?
Having the “favourite” tag and then succeeding paid great credit to his mental strength.
In addition, his favoured backhand caused China’s Ma Long, arguably the greatest player of the current generation, more than food for thought! It was not a one sided final, Mattias Falck proved himself more than a worthy opponent against the best player on planet earth.
A silver medal in Budapest; most certainly worth the ‘Best Achievement Award’!